1MDB special panel to submit probe report this week

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 16, 2018.
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR: The special committee probing 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will submit a report prior to its expected dissolution on Saturday, said committee member Cynthia Gabriel.

“We will submit our first preliminary report on the status of the investigation to the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) and the prime minister by the end of the week,” she said.

Cynthia, also the director of the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, said investigations into the 1MDB scandal will continue after this but may be conducted by other bodies.

“The investigation will still go on,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the International Malaysian Law Conference yesterday.

“Right now, the special committee is working on the money trail involving RM2.6 billion of funds transferred through [former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s] bank accounts. The transaction is not simple as it went throughout many shell companies.

“The committee is not only investigating the money trail linked to [1MDB subsidiary] SRC International Sdn Bhd, but also four other major money flows,” she added.

Explaining the committee’s expected dissolution, she said the CEP and the committee were mandated by the government to carry out their duties within the first 100 days of the new Pakatan Harapan administration, which ends tomorrow.

The committee is headed by former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, and the other members are PricewaterhouseCoopers partner in risk assurance Nik Shahrizal Sulaiman, Naqiz & Partners senior partner Syed Naqiz Shahbuddin Syed Abdul Jabbar, and Otoritas Jasa Keuangan Indonesia senior adviser Faris Rabidin.

According to Cynthia, the bizarre flow of funds at 1MDB is the first unprecedented case at the international level involving grand corruption, as various domestic laws have to be looked at in studying the money trail.

“A lot of money was lost in different jurisdictions, and this raises some concern with regard to which jurisdiction do we use to trace and claim this money,” she said, adding the new Malaysian government had signed several mutual legal assistance agreements with other jurisdictions that had earlier been blocked by the previous attorney-general, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.