The Cabinet meeting today should endorse the BBC admission by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” (“MO1”) is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and it should authorize the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to re-open police investigations into the 1MDB scandal taking into account the information in the DOJ forfeiture lawsuit.
This is for two reasons: Firstly, at least two Ministers, namely the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Noh Omar have expressed ignorance of the identity of “MO1” when asked by the press after Abdul Rahman’s BBC interview.
Secondly, the reasons given by Abdul Rahman that Najib was not named directly was because he was not part of the investigation by the various United States agencies under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is not a good, credible or tenable reason for the Malaysian police to turn a blind-eye to the series of criminal conduct unveiled by the DOJ lawsuits on the embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of US$3.5 1MDB funds for the forfeiture of US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Apart from the five persons named in the DOJ lawsuits – Jho Low, Raja Shahrir Aziz bin Abdul Aziz, “Eric” Tan, Khadem Abdulla AL QUBAISI and Mohamed Ahmed Badawy AL-HUSSEINY – four persons were referred by code, viz “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, “1MDB OFFICER 1”, “1MDB OFFICER 2” and “1MDB OFFICER 3”.
The Government through Abdul Rahman has admitted that “MO1” is Najib. The identity of “1MDB Officers 1, 2 and 3” are also easy to identify, namely Casey Tang Keng Chee who served as executive director of 1MDB from the time of its creation until approximately March 2011 as “1MDB Officer 1”; Datuk Shahrol Halmi who was 1MDB chief executive officer from the beginning to March 2013 as “1MDB Officer 2” and Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, previously 1MDB’s general counsel and executive director of group strategy, as “1MDB Officer 3”.
Both Casey Tang and Jasmine Loo are on the Bank Negara “wanted list”, sought by the Malaysian authorities in connection with financial crimes with regard to the 1MDB funds.
In the case of Shahrol, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on 1MDB tabled in Parliament on April 6 had recommended action to be taken against him as he must take responsibility for the 1MDB global scandal.
The PAC Report said:
“In summary, PAC found the constraints and certain weaknesses in 1MDB management and board of directors.
“Particularly PAC was of the view that 1MDB ex-CEO Shahrol should take the responsibility for the weaknesses and constraints.
“As such, the enforcement agency was urged to probe Shahrol and other management.”
More than five months have passed. Have the police and the various enforcement agencies acted with efficiency, alacrity and promptness on the the PAC recommendation as they had shown when Pakatan Harapan leaders and civil society personalities are involved? All the police have to show in these past five months are the various ludicrous accounts about various “phases” of police investigations into the PAC recommendation!
The US DOJ filing alleged that “1MDB Officer 1” had misled banks and concealed certain facts from 1MDB’s board of directors in order to transfer US$700 million to Good Star Ltd, which in turn is owned by the Penang-born businessman Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low).
In the case of “1MDB Officer 3”, DOJ filing alleged that some US$1.367 billion had been siphoned from 1MDB during the ‘Aabar-BVI’ phase of the embezzlement.
Of these, about US$5 million ended up in a bank account in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec 6, 2012, which was held under the name of ‘River Dee International SA’ and that “1MDB Officer 3” was the account’s actual owner.
The DOJ filings also state that 1MDB Official 3 is an authorised signatory of a bank account held in the name of Tanore Finance Corporation, which was used during March 2013 to transfer US$681 million to an Ambank account held by ‘Malaysian Official 1’.
On “1MDB Officer 2”, the DOJ alleged that many of the most significant deals involving theft, embezzlement and money-laundering of 1MDB funds took place under his watch as 1MDB CEO from the beginning to March 2013.
Are “1MDB Officer 1, 2 and 3” to enjoy immunity and impunity for their series of financial crimes in the same manner as “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, on Abdul Rahman’s spurious ground that as they were not named directly, they were not the subject of investigations by the various US agencies and should not be subjected to investigations by the Malaysian Police and other national agencies?
The Cabinet should be reminded of the Conference of Rulers’ statement issued on October 6 last year expressing the concern of the nine royal rulers that the government quickly conclude investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) affair and to take “the appropriate stern action” against those implicated.
Almost a year has passed and both concerns have not been met – there is no quick conclusion of investigations into the 1MDB global scandal and no “appropriate stern action” had been taken against those implicated!
Although the Conference of Rulers’ statement was welcomed at the time by Abdul Rahman as Cabinet Minister and the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director, claiming that what the Rulers’ statement was in line with what the government wanted in the investigation on 1MDB, nothing is further from the truth.
As of today, 1MDB scandal is even further from resolution, growing ever bigger and mind-blowing, extending its international tentacles and turning Malaysia overnight into a global kleptocracy!
Will the Cabinet at long last act at its meeting today – seven long weeks after the DOJ lawsuits filed on July 20- not only to bring an end to the protracted 1MDB global financial scandal but to show there are enough patriots among the Ministers to take proactive measures to purge and cleanse Malaysia’s new reputation as an overnight global kleptocracy?