Joint Press Statement: 1MDB & DoJ – What is our next course of action?

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1MDB & DoJ – What is our next course of action?

23rd June – Malaysia is under international spotlight again with the recent revival of the investigations by the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) over the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds. The current filing by DoJ seeks to recover $USD 540 million (RM 2.3 billion).

The action follows last year’s civil asset forfeiture suit which sought to recover approximately $USD 1 Billion (RM4.3 Billion) in assets related to the alleged swindled funds under the USA Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI).  As stated in recent DOJ’s press release of filings to recover an additional USD540 Million (RM 2.3 Billion) in assets, the total value of assets subject to forfeiture now stands at almost $1.7 billion (RM 7.3 billion).

The response from our Ministers and relevant authorities over the fresh allegations is disappointing. Their dismissive attitude towards the allegations will only raise further doubt amongst the public as to their level of commitment and seriousness to deal with the issue.

The Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (GIAT) coalition is astonished at Communications and Multimedia Minister, Salleh Said Keruak and Barisan National Strategic Communications Director, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s accusation that the DoJ’s investigations are influenced by the opposition, seeking foreign intervention for political purposes.

Loss of public funds affects the public in general resulting in hardship for the poor, lack of development and a debt burden for future generations.

Ministers and politicians from both sides of the divide should focus on verifying the DoJ claims, to challenge the claims if it can be proven that it is malicious and to provide the public an action plan to ensure that governance structures are in place to prevent future occurrence.

The following action calls by politicians are detrimental to our country and clearly identify an intention to cover up rather than to address the problem.

  1. Politicians challenging the DoJ to show proof and take legal action against 1MDB.
  2. Acting against whistle blowers by calling on the U.S to publicly expose the names of individuals who have complained against 1MDB
  3. Suggesting that the opposition are behind the current investigations.
  4. Keeping the Auditor General Audit of 1MDB under Official Secrets Act

We are reminded that the reason DoJ is involved is because the financial system of US has been used in the alleged money laundering exercise.

The GIAT Coalition poses this crucial question – “What is our next course of action?”

In particular:

  1. Why is the Malaysian government hesitant to check on the evidence that DoJ claims to have in their possession before filing their civil seizure suits?
  2. Why is the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) not pursuing an investigation on the latest claims? MACC’s explanation that the investigation overlaps with police investigations is not acceptable as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) asserts that investigations on the matter are over and reports have been handed over to the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) in April. However, as of June 14, the IGP had not received any response from the AGC and stated that the police would not interfere in civil matters.

As signatories of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) which promotes international cooperation, we are obliged to work together with other state parties who are part of the UNCAC. As such, Malaysia should actively approach and work together with other nations in tackling corruption. If the DoJ asserts that it has evidence that supports the seizure of the assets, it is our AGC who should seek mutual legal assistance and request for the evidence so that it can take action on any crime which may been committed with respect to 1MDB’s funds.

For the sake of the public who bears the consequences of the 1MDB fiasco, GIAT calls for the relevant authorities to move past  the current state of inaction and work towards verifying the evidence that the DoJ has presented, and to do what is right for the country and its people without fear or favour.

Till then, the credibility of the country’s governance and integrity of its legal system remain at stake. In the international arena, Malaysia is at risk of being viewed as a kleptocratic regime.

Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (GIAT) coalition

  • Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4)
  • Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)
  • Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M)
  • Sinar Project
  • Friends of Kota Damansara (FoKD)

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