In about a month’s time, we will be celebrating the 59th National Day and 53rd Malaysia Day anniversaries, but the last three days had been the most shameful, humiliating and mortifying period in the six decades of the nation’s history for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation..
Never before had Malaysia been condemned and crucified in the global society as a thoroughly corrupt and decadent country, as when the US Attorney-General Loretta E Lynch, told an international audience through Internet livestreaming of her press conference in United States that the American authorities are trying to recover for the Malaysian people billions of ringgit stolen from them by corrupt officials meant “to grow the Malaysian economy and support the Malaysian people”.
Referring to the billions of ringgit that were “stolen, laundered through the American financial institutions and used to enrich a few officials and their associates”, Loretta said “Corrupt officials around the world should make no mistake that we will be relentless in our efforts to deny them the proceeds of their crimes.”
The 136-page US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal suit under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is a “tale of infamy and horror” about the multiple failures of democratic good governance and key national institutions in Malaysia – not just the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament but also institutions like the Police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Bank Negara, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Judiciary – that such mammoth and monstrous global white-collar crimes could take place under their watch.
What I also find most shocking in the past three days over the DOJ legal suit to recover more than US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States is the total lack of shock of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his Cabinet Ministers and government politicians to the US DOJ’s horrendous 136-page legal suit under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) exposing the litany of theft, misappropriation and embezzlement of tens of billions of ringgit of Malaysian public funds.
It would appear that Najib and his Ministers were not at all shocked by the US DOJ legal suit, as if they had been expecting it and had choreographed their responses – which is not surprising considering that the US DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) initiated investigations under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Intiaitive 2010 as far back as September last year.
This may be why despite being mentioned 34 times in the DOJ legal suit as “Malaysian Official 1”, a high-level international pretence was adopted from the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General downwards that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Razak had not been named and Najib could adopt the stance that the DOJ suit was a civil one and the legal process in US must be allowed to be completed without any assumption being made until it is over.
This attempt at a cop-out by the Malaysian authorities is most weak, tame and unacceptable , as the DOJ’s civil action is based on a host of criminal conduct and activities which had stolen, misappropriated, embezzled and defrauded billions of ringgit of Malaysian public funds for the interests of a criminal and corrupt few.
For instance, Paragraph 108 in the section on the diversion of US$368 million from the 1MDB Joint Venture into the United States “to fund the luxurious lifestyles of LOW (Jho Low) and his associates”, enumerated how between October 2009 and October 2010, “misappropriated 1MDB funds were used for the following purposes:
(1)approximately US$12 million in wires to Caesars Palace, a Las Vegas casino;
(2) approximately US$13.4 million in wires to the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the owner of the Venetian Las Vegas, another casino.
Paragraph 220 – 225 in the “F Section” of the portion on the misappropriation of US$1.367 billion from 1MDB in the AABAR-BVI Phase, related how AZIZ (Najib’s stepson, Riza Shahrir bin Abdul Aziz) in June/July 2012 “transferred at least US$41 million in funds received from Aabar-BVI to an account that was then used to pay gambling expenses for himself, Low and Tan (Eric Tan Kim Loong)” in Las Vegas.
Paragraph 223 (page 66) recorded that “On or about July 10, 2012, US$11 million was deposited into LOW’s account at the Venetian Casino (Las Vegas), and records show that LOW gambled there approximately seven days beginning on or about that date”.
Paragraph 225 on the gambling session on or about July 15, 2012, recorded: “Several individuals gambled with LOW on this occasion, using his account. These individuals included AZIZ; Red Granite Pictures founder McFarland; a lead actor in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and former Chief Investment Officer of 1MDB.”
The DOJ civil suit under the US Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative 2010 to seize over US$1 billion assets stolen and misappropriated from 1MDB list a whole catalogue of criminal activities leading to money-laundering, embezzlement and corruption of 1MDB funds which would keep a conscientious and high-powered Attorney-General’s Chambers, MACC and police team busy for years to bring the criminals to book – provided the investigative and enforcement agencies concerned are serious about upholding law and order and there is rule of law in Malaysia!
(Speech at the DAP Jalong Branch Support, Sympathy and Solidarity (SSS) Lim Guan Eng Dinner in Sungai Siput on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 10 pm)