DAP’s Pua questions wisdom of brushing off importance of 1MDB’s disowned financial statements

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 3): The DAP's Tony Pua has questioned the wisdom of newly appointed Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani in brushing off the significance and importance 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) disowned financial statements for the years ending March 2013 and 2014.

Deloitte Malaysia, which had signed off 1MDB's controversial accounts for the financial years ending March 2013 and 2014, has publicly disowned the veracity of the audited reports.

This then forced the board of directors of 1MDB to announce that "its 2013 and 2014 audited financial statements should no longer be relied on until allegations made by the United States (US) Department of Justice (DOJ) are determined in court".

In a statement today, Pua, who is DAP national publicity secretary and MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, asked how could a finance minister with any sense of integrity and accountability claim that 1MDB's disowned financial statements for the years ending March 2013 and 2014 "doesn't affect 1MDB".

Pua said Johari's statement was misleading because 1MDB was still laden with multi-billion dollar debts which have yet to be repaid.

He said these included the US$6.5 billion worth of bonds raised by Goldman Sachs, RM5 billion sukuk guaranteed by the Federal Government, RM2.4 billion sukuk via its subsidiary Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd and another RM800 million of borrowings from SOCSO.

"Secondly, the Second Finance Minister appears completely uninterested in the reasons or basis why Deloitte has withdrawn its endorsement for 1MDB's accounts for 2013 and 2014.

"The DOJ suit has shown that Deloitte has failed to discover that 1MDB had made more than US$3.5 billion of payments over the course of 2012 to 2014 to a fraudulent Aabar Investment PJS Ltd, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI)," he said.

Pua said Deloitte found nothing suspicious in 1MDB Global Investment Ltd's US$1.56 billion investment in several dodgy and obscure investment funds, including the Devonshire Growth, Enterprise Emerging Markets and Cistenique investment funds.

He said the US DOJ had determined that these funds had allegedly acted as conduits in the money laundering scam, including US$681 million which had ended up in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's personal bank account.

Pua added Deloitte was also led to believe that US$1.22 billion was successfully redeemed from 1MDB's fake investment in the Cayman Islands, when in reality 1MDB was making round-tripping transactions with money from its subsidiary, 1MDB Global Investment.

He said this was revealed separately by documents exposed by the Sarawak Report.

"Why is Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani completely disinterested in the missing and embezzled funds? Why is there no demand from the Minister for the accounts to be re-audited?

"Is his promotion from Deputy Finance Minister precisely because he will stand by the Prime Minister through thick and thin to cover up the multi-billion-dollar misappropriation which has taken place in the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance?" he queried.

Pua also said Johari had further asserted that Putrajaya was "very confident" that 1MDB will win the US$6.5 billion arbitration case filed by International Petroleum Investment Co.

"His sheer confidence is surprising given the DOJ developments which have clearly shown 1MDB's various key officials playing an integral role in conspiring to defraud 1MDB," Pua said.

"Under such circumstances, how is 1MDB going to be able to prove to the London Arbitration Court that 1MDB is an innocent party to the massive fraud? Will Datuk Johari resign if the decision is found to be not in 1MDB's favour?" he asked.