Thursday, April 27, 2017

Did Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani just blame the Prime Minister for sacrificing US$3.5 billion in 1MDB’s “settlement” with IPIC for “the bigger picture”?

In an exclusive response to Malaysiakini yesterday, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani insisted that he has proof that Aabar Investment PJS Limited (“Aabar(BVI)”), an entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands which 1MDB has already paid US$3.51 billion was a genuine subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) of Abu Dhabi.

"As far as I am concerned, based on records provided by 1MDB to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) prior to the settlement agreement, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) is a subsidiary of IPIC.  A fact which was confirmed by the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the British Virgin Islands by its letter dated Aug 11, 2016," he told Malaysiakini.

The question is, if the so-called “proof” is so incontrovertible, then it makes absolutely no sense to concede on a whopping US$3.5 billion or more than RM15 billion based on today’s exchange rates!

Instead of being all gung-ho in being able to win the IPIC-initiated arbitration, the Second Finance Minister said “the matter is beyond [him]” in a subsequent press conference yesterday.  He now made a complete U-turn claiming that the government decided to look after the “bigger picture”.

“At the end of the day, the government felt that they are looking at the bigger picture on this, in terms of the relationship between Malaysian and Abu Dhabi and so on… So I think that’s beyond me. I’m going for the facts, but this is a bigger thing.”

In fact, the Second Finance Minister shifted the blame to the Prime Minister. “The Prime Minister has made the decision for the country. That’s it,” he retorted.

But that’s exactly what Malaysians are worried about – that it’s the tainted Prime Minister who is making the decisions because he is conflicted!

Based on documents revealed by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ), which were corroborated by the evidence produced by the Singapore prosecution against its rogue bankers, from the funds transferred to Aabar(BVI), Dato’ Seri Najib Razak personally received a sum of US$30 million in his personal bank account in Ambank in 2012.

Worse, his stepson, Riza Aziz received US$238 million via his Red Granite group of companies.  Some US$100 million of the sum was used to produce the Hollywood movie, The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

In addition, isn’t Dato’ Seri Johari interested to find out if, despite the incontrovertible “proof” in his possession, that Aabar(BVI) had been fraudulently set up by the officers of IPIC – Khadem Al-Qubaishi and Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, both of whom have been sacked by IPIC – in collusion with 1MDB officers to defraud both the Abu Dhabi and Malaysian governments?

Hence the question must be asked as to whether Dato’ Seri Najib Razak decided to ‘settle’ the IPIC dispute which resulted in US$3.5 billion of additional liability for Malaysians because it is really in the interest of the country or, to prevent IPIC from further exposing and confirming his complicity in the entire 1MDB misappropriation scandal.

Therefore, it is utterly irresponsible of Dato’ Seri Johari to wash his hands off the Ministry of Finance taking on the RM15 billion mega-liability.  Instead of acting ignorant, shouldn’t the Second Finance Minister satisfy himself that the Prime Minister has not made the decision out of self-interest? In reality, was the “bigger picture” a blatant attempt to save Najib and Barisan Nasional from losing in the next General Election?

If the matter is indeed “beyond” him as he pleads, then he might as well resign as the Second Finance Minister.

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