PRESS STATEMENT, 11 May 2015, Kuala Lumpur – Transparency International – Malaysia (TI-M) fully supports and endorses the view of Defence Minister Dato Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to appoint an independent international auditor to “check, verify and reveal to the public the value of assets and liabilities of the company, as well as the status of 1MDB investment portfolio and its cash flow”.
TI-M also agrees with the Minister that “the audit firm should also conduct a forensic audit of all 1MDB transactions since its inception, to help 1MDB answer all issues that are being raised” and that “we should not just wait for the outcome of the auditor-general’s investigation”.
On 3rd March 2015, TI-M has also issued a similar press statement urging our government to set up a special high level taskforce to conduct a full investigation into the numerous allegations of massive billion ringgit financial and commercial crime fiasco involving 1MDB.
Given that the auditor-general (AG)’s office is hard pressed even to undertake its core business of auditing the accounts of government ministries and agencies, it would be an additional heavy burden indeed for the AG’s office to now be tasked to unravel the truth of the goings-on in 1MDB.
With due respect to the officers of the AG’s office, they may not have enough expertise or necessary resources to conduct a diligent forensic audit bearing in mind the complex web and layers of issues and problems involved and the possible intentional covering of tracks.
With time running out and the pressures from all quarters on the AG’s office to deliver the report as soon as possible, it has become an onerous task for the AG’s office to do a good job. It is indeed a tall order to do so given that the officers have their normal duties to perform. Certainly we don’t want the AG’s office to rush and come up with a report just for the sake of doing so. The public wants to know the truth and nothing but the truth about 1MDB account.
Therefore in this regard, the AG’s office certainly needs all the help and assistance to expedite the completion of the report. Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s call for an independent international auditor to be appointed to complete the task would be very apt.
TI-M also agrees with Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s call that 1MDB should be transparent in terms of where the cash proceeds of the sale of the land (RM188.5 million) to Tabung Haji have been utilised. Can 1MDB confirm that the said money has not been spent on servicing outstanding interest commitments?
Based on media reports, it appears that Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) had paid RM188.5 million for 1.56 acres of the 70-acre Tun Razak Exchange land owned by 1MDB which the latter paid for a measly RM194.1 million for the whole 70 acres. Why did the government give LTH the ‘stepchild’ treatment’ and 1MDB the preferential treatment?
Yes, of course we are now told that the land will be sold to a third party; but what if there was no ‘hue and cry’ from the depositors; LTH would have to bear the burden of owning this overpriced asset?
The Government has no choice but to take the “bull by the horn” and address expeditiously the negative perception and suspicion of the rakyat over 1MDB which unfortunately is growing day by day.
Dato’ Akhbar Satar
Transparency International Malaysia
Transparency International-Malaysia is an independent, non-governmental and non-partisan organisation committed to the fight against corruption.