Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Look ahead" (and away from 1MDB)? You must be joking, Mr. Prime Minister!

In a demonstration of utter contempt for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Prime Minister had the cheek to ask Malaysians to “look ahead” after a damning report was tabled in Parliament.

Despite a relatively short list of  recommendations which included the call  for the 1MDB Board of Advisors to be disbanded and the Article 117 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) which grants the Prime Minister autocratic control over the company be abolished, there were dozens of critical findings outlined throughout the 106-page report.

On Friday, I have already stated that the PAC has established that at least US$5.5 billion of 1MDB’s cash and assets could  not  be  verified  by  the Attorney-General  after  a  year  of investigations. This included:

  • The sums of US$700 million and US$330 million which was misappropriated to Good Star Limited, a company unrelated to the purported 1MDB-Petrosaudi joint venture in 2009 and 2011. 
  • US$3.51  billion which was paid to a British Virgin Islands (BVI) incorporated  Aabar Investment PJS Limited “Aabar (BVI)” in the form of collaterals, options termination compensation  and  further  unexplained “top-up  security” payments despite obvious doubts over who owns Aabar (BVI). 
  • US$940 million worth of “units” which was parked at the Swiss Bank branch of BSI Bank in Singapore. 
In fact, I made a mistake on Friday by leaving out another US$1.56 billion of investments by 1MDB’s wholly-owned foreign subsidiary, 1MDB Global Investments Limited which also could not be verified by the Auditor-General.

That brings a total of US$7.0 billion (RM28 billion) of unverified cash or assets which have been parked overseas by 1MDB. 1MDB have refused to cooperate with the AG or the PAC by handing over the bank statements of their foreign accounts and subsidiaries. 1MDB was also unable to provide documentary proof of who the owners of Good Star Limited and Aabar Investment PJS Limited are.

So  how  is  the  Prime  Minister  expecting  Malaysians  who  have been  stunned  by  the staggering amount of abuse and gross mismanagement by 1MDB of tax-payers’ funds to “look forward”?

For a start, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has not even agreed to the minimal recommendations by the PAC to disband the Board of Advisors and abolish Article 117 in the M&A.

Worst,  Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has refused to instruct 1MDB to handover all the crucial missing bank statements and documents to the AG and the PAC. This will only suggest that the Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister is complicit in the entire scandal.

This is especially since Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s signatures are littered all over 1MDB as he was the ultimate decision maker who signed off resolutions to sack 1MDB’s auditors, Ernst & Young and KPMG, to invest US$1.83 billion in the failed Petrosaudi joint venture, to borrow US$6.5 billion of bonds via Goldman Sachs and to overpay for the RM12.1 billion of power assets.

Hence, the Prime Minister’s direct complicity in all of the above, and the fact that 1MDB refused to give us their foreign bank statements and documents makes it impossible for the PAC to “clear” the Prime Minister of wrongdoings.

Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must stop attempting to sweep the entire 1MDB scandal under the carpet by asking Malaysians to “look forward” or “move on”, when he has refused to even act decisively on the findings of the PAC Report.

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