Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani must think that Malaysians are born yesterday to buy his excuse that the Government “can't press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.

I was stunned by the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s remarks to the media that the Government “can’t press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.  I had certainly expected better of him, as he was a known critic of 1MDB before his appointment as a Minister.

"The transfer of the money to the accounts and so on, it’s not that. That’s only half the story. If you want to charge people, you need the complete story," Johari said at a luncheon talk organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd which was reported by the Edge Financial Daily yesterday.

Of course, we need the complete story in order to charge any person for a crime.  However, the question is there must be a concerted effort to investigate the crime. 

From what we can see happening in Malaysia at this point of time, there is no attempt at all to investigate the crimes everyone can see which have taken place in Malaysia.

The United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) has clearly presented all documentary evidence of how funds amounting to more than US$5.6 billion have been siphoned from 1MDB and laundered overseas.  This included more than US$1 billion which have been siphoned to Good Star Limited which was owned by Jho Low, whose whereabouts are a mystery today.  The 1MDB management had persistently tried to hide this fact by lying that Good Star Limited was owned by 1MDB’s joint venture partner, Petrosaudi International Limited.

In Singapore, bankers have been sent to jail and bank licences have been withdrawn for facilitating the above same transactions.  This has included funds which has passed through to and from a Tanore Finance Corporation via its bank account with Falcon Private Bank to the personal bank account of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

And yet, despite the obvious and ease of accessing all the relevant evidence of grand corruption, the Second Finance Minister has the cheek to tell Malaysians that the Government “can’t press charges without the full picture”.

Dato’ Seri Johari even had the gall to dismiss the case in Singapore as not having involved Malaysians. "The governance issue happened in Singapore, not in Malaysia. And those characters are actually Singaporeans,” he said.

The Minister is obviously pretending very hard to be ignorant and stupid because the Singapore cases clearly named the parties who laundered the funds included Jho Low, his father Tan Sri Larry Low and other associates who were Malaysians.  Evidence including banking transactions were presented to the Court demonstrating how these funds stolen from 1MDB were misappropriated, including the amounts ending up in the Prime Minister’s bank account.

If the Minister is really clueless about the evidence and what took place in the US DOJ and Singapore Courts, I will be most happy to share the information and documents with the Minister.

However, please don’t tell half-truths to the Malaysian public that "even the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and AG (auditor-general) were unable to specifically tell what went wrong.

The AG has discovered many wrongs which were cited in the AG’s Report on 1MDB which the Cabinet has decided to classify under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).  This was despite the fact that 1MDB had refused full cooperation with the AG by denying the AG access to crucial banking documents of its overseas subsidiaries.

But even what little revealed in the PAC Report was sufficient for the PAC to conclude massive wrong-doing on the part of the management.  The PAC has specifically demanded that Datuk Shahrol Halmi be investigated for his role in causing the billions of ringgit of losses to 1MDB and the Malaysian Government. 

It has been nearly a year since the report has been tabled in Parliament. Why hasn’t any action at all be taken against Datuk Shahrol Halmi?  In fact, why is Datuk Shahrol Halmi still a Director at the PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department?

The reality is, not only has the Government made no effort into investigating the scandal, it is blocking all attempts to investigate the crime. For example, the Attorney-General abused his power by instructing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from further investigating the US$681 million or more which were discovered in the Prime Minister’s bank account. Subsequently, he rejected a request for cooperation by the Swiss Attorney-General to investigate the case.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani may not have been involved in the attempts to stall or stop the investigations, as he was only appointed a Minister in July last year.  However, he should not try to belittle the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians or take us for fools by claiming that the Government can’t press charges because it doesn’t have a “full picture”.
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