Sarawak Report Expose on 1MDB


1mdb-01

(A 42 billion time bomb that had already exploded on everyone’s face but a lot of people in this country are not aware of the blast – no thanks to a sneaky fat guy and a clueless PM. Until today, I am lost why they put billions of taxpayers money in Cayman Island unless it is meant for some shady deal. Infographic source: http://poskod.my/cheat-sheets/10-things-know-1mdb/)

In a country where the police chief can take action based on tweets and Facebook postings, there is only eerie silence by the police, MACC, Bank Negara and the pro-Government politicians on the largest scandal expose by Sarawak Report on the 1MDB

And if you have missed the story, the crux of the expose has been this:-

Together with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sarawak Report has completed an in-depth investigation into the trail of the missing billions at the heart of Malaysia’s 1MDB (One Malaysia Development Berhad) financial scandal.

We have obtained access to thousands of documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi International from 2009.

What the documents establish is that, in spite of copious official denials, the entire joint venture project was conceived, managed and driven through by the Prime Minister’s associate and family friend the party-loving billionaire tycoon, Jho Low.

The documents also prove that the USD$700 million so-called “loan” that was supposedly repaid to PetroSaudi as part of the joint venture agreement, was in fact directed into the Swiss bank account of a company called Good Star, which is controlled by Jho Low.

That money was then partly used to buy out Taib Mahmud’s UBG bank in Sarawak at a very advantageous price for the chief minister and his family, who had been failing to get a deal on the open market.

PetroSaudi had agreed to act as “a front” for Jho Low on such deals, according to the documents, and it was a subsidiary of PetroSaudi International registered in the Seychelles, which bought UBG, using money siphoned from 1MDB.

(Source)

USD700 million of taxpayers went to someone’s personal pockets and 1MDB continues to bleed. And it did not stop there. Then almost on the same day, The Edge had this story on 1MDB:-

From 2009 to 2014, 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) initial US$1 billion was shuffled and swapped around, in an apparent bid to avoid scrutiny by its string of external auditors, The Edge Malaysia reported.

In its March 2-8 issue, the business weekly provides a timeline of how the government-owned strategic investment fund disguised the money trail of its initial US$1 billion for five years, raising the question of whether 1MDB is as profitable as it claims to be, or is merely rich on paper

By August 1, the money in the Caymans had grown to US$2.33 billion, and in November and December, 1MDB announced it had redeemed the entire amount.

However, instead of repatriating the money home, 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy said the December redemption of US$1.11 billion would be kept offshore as a currency hedge, while the first redemption would be “substantially utilised” for a separate settlement agreement on a different project.

“What can be surmised from the events of the last five years is that 1MDB kept entering into deftly structured transactions timed to avoid vigorous scrutiny by its external auditors about the money,” The Edge said.

(Source)

Whether it was a case of sheer recklessness or blatant corruption and fraud or simply a case of bad business decision, one thing that is clear – the allegations and evidence that has been presented by Sarawak Report cannot be taken lightly. There is overwhelming notion of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of public funds written all over it.

And already search for scapegoats have started:-

It appears that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has begun the process of trying to wash PM Najib’s hands clean of what may turn out to be the biggest political and financial scandal in recent Malaysian history, according to analyst Shahbudin Husin.

Tied to that process may be a search for a scapegoat, he writes in a blog entry that indicates his belief that the 1MDB controversy is close to reaching a climax.

(Source)

Given the kind of damage that has made by Sarawak Report’s expose, it is apparent that Najib and his Government cannot remain silent. The more they remained silent, the more crystallize the allegations will be. And finally, probably given the pressure within his Government and outside, the PM has now directed the Auditor-General to vet the 1MDB’s accounts. He even goes on to say something interesting (and probably a concept that is rather alien in this country) – “If any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception”.

Let’s talk on Auditor-General’s reporting in the past. How effective it has been to 1. curtail and avoid similar incidents of wastage & abuse in future and 2. in booking the culprits of wastage and abuses? Since the PM is asking the AG to check 1MDB’s account, we also want to know if the Government would be serious in taking actions if there are some findings by the AG?

Back in 2014, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam wrote this:-

Unfortunately these management weaknesses and the consequent wastage of public funds continue to stubbornly persist. This is happening despite the Auditor General’s previous exhortations, to improve our standards of good governance.

In this first installment of the Report for 2013, it appears that 283 spending related issues were raised as for the first 4 months, which is well over the 256 spending issues raised by the AG, for the whole of 2012!

This trend is alarming and must be dealt with very seriously!

The Auditor General has to his credit now made 109 new recommendations for improvement in financial management. But the rakyat will ask what will be done with them? Will these recommendations be ignored and will mismanagement and financial wastage continue regardless?

Hence should not the PAC recommend tougher action and even name and shame these recalcitrant Ministries which are responsible for the loss of hard earned public funds?

(Source)

Transparency International Malaysia in 2013 said “It will also make a mockery of the Government, when the Auditor-General’s reports are not being taken seriously after it has identified the shortcomings within the administration” (Source)

And Tony Pua from Pakatan echoes the same:-

“While welcoming the investigation on 1MDB’s financials, Pua said the report should also include, but not be limited to the following:

• Auditing and identifying the redemption trail of the investments in Cayman Islands and the whereabout of its proceeds;

• Auditing and identifying the exact investment holding, true value and whereabouts of RM13.39 billion of “Level 3 Assets” identified in the March 2014 Financial Report;

• Confirming if 1MDB had attempted to borrow RM2 billion from local tycoon Ananda Krishnan to repay its debt and determine 1MDB’s cashflow shortage to meet its RM42 billion debt obligations as well as contract commitments which is likely to require a government bailout;

• Confirming if all historical emails in the 1MDB mail server were “wiped out” in December last year, as claimed by the Sarawak Report.

Pua said the Auditor-General should also conduct a forensic audit of 1MDB with the assistance of professional forensic auditors “to uncover any financial shenanigans in the company particularly in the light of (the) expose by the Sarawak Report and the mind-boggling PetroSaudi transactions from 2009 to 2012” and explained the same had been done in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal in 2009.

(Source)

And thanks to the good people in Sarawak report, things have started to pick up pace despite it is not a new issue and the troubled 1MDB & the dubious way of handling the matter by people linked with 1MDB has been in the mainstream news for some time now.

And with the expose, the calls for accountability and transparency have not been louder, clearer and more direct to Najib:-

He notes that there have been reports that 1MDB will be wound up. “Oh, my God! For six years we’ve been told that everything was safe and fine. And now, suddenly, there’ll be a winding up?”

But Ariff says he figures it’ll take months before the Auditor-General can complete his task because of the mountains of documents involved. “What’s worse, much computer data have been destroyed.”

He notes that another Umno leader has alleged that there’s a political conspiracy behind the attacks on 1MDB and he discloses that the allegation came even as he was writing his article.

“If it were true that there’s a political agenda, it would be justifiable because the objective would be to expose a government that has made it possible for abuse and corruption to happen, in fact given a licence for them to happen.”

“In all these six years, it’s not public funds that the government has been protecting, but thieves and robbers.”

(Source)

Now there are talks of dismantling 1MDB and dissolve it thereafter. It may depends on the outcome of the AG report. The question is whether we will be calling the fat guy in for questioning and squeeze the truth from him on the shady USD700 million transfer? And since the PM is also the Finance Minister and this owns 1MDB, accountability and thereafter his resignation if wrongdoings are proven? Sarawak Report claims that all historical emails have been wiped out – so what is left to investigate if more evidence have been tampered with?

We do not want another PKFZ fiasco where the biggest losers at the end of the day is the taxpayers.

Advertisements

GE13: What Chinese Tsunami?


fnutusan07e

(“Chinese Tsunami” – would it be Najib’s new “unity” motto for the next 5 years? Why call for national reconciliation when at the same whack one community for your failures at the polls? What else the Chinese want, you ask? How about an all out fight against corruption, fair treatment for all Malaysians and wastage of public funds & resources? Image source: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com)

GE13 polling has officially ended but not the subsequent implications. It will take probably weeks and even months before things get settled down. Anwar have indicated that Pakatan will not accept the outcome of the elections until EC explains on some of the glaring irregularities – they just had a large public rally on this which in turned caused a massive traffic jam (Raja Petra however raised concern of something more sinister) and surely there will be legal suits flying around. And there are quite number of states and seats won on slim margin – so one needs to wonder if there will be another round of frogs jumping ships as what we saw back in 2008? And trouble is brewing in Selangor as to who will get the Menteri Besar seat – I just hope the PKR fellows do not screw things up big time – pro-BN bloggers already having a field day on this.

The Results

All in all, it is a good election for Pakatan Rakyat. Racial bigots of Ibrahim Ali and Zulkfli Noordin were promptly shown the exit by multi racial voters but rest assured they will be around to cause the usual trouble. Nurul Izzah won the closely contested Lembah Pantai seat and a big thanks to the extra vigilant supporters, had managed to ensure the fight was fair and square and won it accordingly. Dr M got a good slap when Lim Kit Siang won the Gelang Patah seat with a good majority of 14,000 plus votes – still remember this old-man asking people to bury Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah and then recklessly said that there will be racial confrontation if Lim wins? Thankfully the voters thought otherwise and handed Uncle Lim a good margin to win.

On a bigger scale, despite failing to capture Putrajaya (which many of us were hoping for), Pakatan improved their number of seats in both parliamentary and state level. They kept Penang and Selangor with a higher majority and came close to regaining Perak and Terengganu. The popular votes also went to Pakatan – with 51% of the votes going to them (BN got 47% of the votes). The Kedah was a different story altogether – the votes in Kedah shifted to BN in a big way not because BN was better than Pakatan but rather it was because PAS screwed things up after they won it in 2008. Still remember them going over the board with their extreme Islamic way of governance even on non Muslims? We would have been dumb to still think that PAS would be able to keep Kedah. Its fall was predicted from day 1 and it did. Terengganu was a 50-50 thing.

However the biggest disappointment that Perak did not go to Pakatan – especially after they were robbed of the state by 3 frogs that jumped to BN last time around. Was it because Perakians had forgotten about this incident? Or it was rigged in a way that BN were meant to win – after all it was a very close fight with BN’s 31 seats against Pakatan’s 28 seats. Some of the stories reported do raise some red flags:-

“At that point the results for the Perak state seats were 29 for BN and 28 for Pakatan. I insisted on the recount because the results from these two seats would be the deciding factor in the formation of the next Perak government. “When I insisted that these documents be produced before the announcement of the results, the returning officer instructed the police to push my polling agents and me out of the hall.”

At this juncture, Vasantha Kumar said, “Saravanan threw a chair at me while I was being pushed out.” “I was shocked when the police manhandled me, pushing me 50m out of the centre, while Saravanan and his assistant tried to attack me. However, the police stopped them.” Vasantha Kumar claimed that he and his counting agents were pushed out by the police all the way to the main road outside the hall.

(Source)

It was also disappointing to note that a number of spilt votes screwed up some of the seats for Pakatan. Independents (all whom been wiped out for good reasons) screwed up the chance for Pakatan in Cameron Highlands big time – MIC’s G Palanivel got more votes against him and yet he won with slim margin, no thanks to almost 1,200 votes going to independents. The Pakatan’s screw up in Kota Damansara and Semenyih however is not excusable. Two good state seats were lost because of the stupid in-fighting within Pakatan for the same seats. Thankfully Pakatan had garnered enough seats to form the State Government otherwise Pakatan fellows would have kicked themselves for the major screw-up.

Hopefully this would be the last time Pakatan make a fool of themselves and have overlapping claim for the same seat. Every win counts (especially in situation like in Perak now) and the last thing they need to give away the seat on a platter with split votes. That would be really dumb.

najib_sweets

(Still remember the various promises before the election? Come on lah, Malaysians are not stupid – if the Government had wanted to, as a responsible government, they could have carried up the various promises way before the election. Instead it was back to the usual “you help me, I help you” nonsense from Najib’s administration. A clear breach of election laws but one that EC did nothing to curtail or punish the offenders. Image source: theSun)

Interestingly despite the claims of the success of NKRA especially in area of crime fighting, BRIM 1.0 & 2.0 give-outs, lavish dinners & live concerts (including one by Psy) and over the board “be grateful” propagandas, “you help me, I help you” rallies and advertisements in the media, Najib still fared worst than the sleepy Pak Lah by winning less parliamentary (and state) seats compared to 2008. Although some of these pre-election money, gifts and promises had influenced some of the voters to vote for BN especially in the rural areas and helped them to starve off the Pakatan onslaught for Putrajaya, a majority of them (especially in Penang and Selangor) did not buy them in exchange for their votes:-

No one asked you to give free dinners, RM500, lucky draw, etc. You syok sendiri. The Chinese did not cheat you. But I must congratulate the Penangites. They had two weeks of free food (no need to cook), a lot of free entertainment, money, and 2 weeks later, they get a good government in place! You have got the best of both world!

(Source)

He also failed to wrestle back Selangor despite leading the BN’s well oiled election machinery and with defeat of some of the BN Chairman in other states which included Malacca, Penang and Johore, the Fat Momma’s expensive overseas trip in coming months may be short lived. And the consequences would have been worse for him in the coming months if the allegations of phantom voters and other irregularities are proven to be true.

The Chinese Tsunami?

Najib after been declared as the winner as far as BN and the federal government is concerned started on the wrong footing by blaming the defeat wholly on the Chinese and then half sincerely turns around and calls for national reconciliation (it seems nothing changed for BN and nothing will in the future). It did not take long for UMNO-run Utusan Malaysia and Dr M to rub it in and provide the fuel to the fire:-

Mahathir repeated his stance that the DAP’s campaign was to make the Chinese community hate the Malay community. “I have said this several times in my campaign, even in Johor. Lim Kit Siang brought about the concept of Malaysian Malaysia, with the intention of making the Chinese hate the Malays,” he said. “As a result, many Chinese rejected the Malay hand of friendship.”

(Source)

At the end of the day, it has nothing to do with the Chinese, Malay or even the Indian tsunami. Yes the number of Chinese turning up and voting for Pakatan was higher than before. Are you going to blame them for that? Where it says that the Chinese (or any Malaysians for argument sake) have to vote for BN only? What a bunch of sore losers! It’s a fact that Pakatan could not have gained more votes using Chinese votes alone.

Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng lambasted the move to turn the Chinese as “scapegoats” and shape the election results as a “Chinese-versus-Malay” vote. “Many analysts have disputed this as a gross distortion of data, as this was more a urban-rural divide between Pakatan Rakyat and BN,” Lim said in a statement today. “How can this be a Chinese tsunami in states like Terengganu when PAS won 15 state seats as compared to Umno’s 17, when more than 95 percent of Terengganu voters are Malays?”

And the same was reflected by PAS:-

PAS has expressed gratitude to Chinese voters who backed Malay Pakatan Rakyat candidates in the recently concluded general election, even if it meant having to vote against a fellow Chinese. PAS information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the action of these voters proved the claim by Umno that the Chinese had rejected the Malays to be slander.

“There are tens of Parliament and state assembly seats that were contested by Malay candidates against candidates from the Tiong Hua (Chinese), in mixed constituencies, which were won by the Malays, proving that Chinese voters were willing to reject candidates of their own race,” Tuan Ibrahim said in a statement today.

(Source)

GE13numbers

(Pakatan had won the popular votes but was it due to an overwhelming swing by the Chinese Malaysians or was it due to Malaysians from all races in the country who just fed up on the blatant corruption, wastage and unfair treatment? Image source: Malaysiakini)

Well, to those who keeping harping on the Chinese tsunami and how the Malays will be left out in the country, it is not about the race, and here’s why.  It’s a fact that Najib did miserably when it comes to fighting corruption and national unity.

He did nothing on instances of sheer corruption just because those implicated were from his own political party and he needed them for his own political survival. It took two independent journalists to break the story on PKFZ, a young politician from Pakatan to prove the abuse of taxpayers money dubbed “The Cowgate” (Najib even did not have the balls to sack the Minister) and some foreigners going undercover to show that there indeed a shadow state in the country. Despite the urgency and the need for an independent and robust corruption busting agency, Najib did nothing to strengthen the MACC – it remained lame duck. He promised to do something about it but that promise came with a condition that BN must win the election. Now he had won, will Najib keep up his promise?

On the national unity, it seemed a joke for Najib to call for national reconciliation. By blaming the Chinese for his own losses, he had started his administration by pitting the Chinese against the Malays. The king-makers Indians who were the darling of politicians before the election are now nowhere to be seen. Tough luck for Hindraf and their MOU with Najib – let’s see how sincere Najib will be now that he blaming it on the Chinese. He started the notion of 1Malaysia which seemed to be a good thing as we head towards the year 2020 but did nothing to curtail racial statements from his own party controlled mainstream medias and the UMNO friendly Perkasa extremists who even at one point threatened to burn Bibles. Where was the tough action back then? Najib justify the remarks in Utusan by saying that the Chinese media does the same. Once again, where the tough action against the Chinese papers if they been doing the same?

Is this how a Prime Minister of a multi-racial country speaks when it comes to curtailing racial incitements?

So What’s Next?

At end of the day, there must be a proper closure – both to the acceptance on the outcome of the GE13 and incorrect blame of the losses on the fellow Malaysian Chinese.

Yes we must protest against unfair election process and bring forward any irregularities to be rectified but then again, we should go on with our life – after all, there is a government to be run here. It is almost sure every political party (in addition to the various blogs, political analyst, media, etc) out there would be making their own assessment on the outcome of the elections, see where they have made mistakes and how they can improve on it for the greater benefit of the people and country (not for themselves and the political party).

Pakatan must improve their standing in the next general elections if we want to see a real change at federal level and hence improvement in competency, accountability and transparency. Unlike some politicians from the other side, Pakatan politicians need to ensure that their service centre are still operating and still providing the best service especially in areas where they had lost. Losing does not mean doing nothing and blaming others. Losing means an opportunity to improve on their standard of service and engage the people on the real issues facing them. The sooner the politicians do this, the sooner the country can get back on its feet.

Con Jobs


(Ya, it is just a joke but the reality of things is conman can come in many forms and can strike when you least expected. Image source: http://punditkitchen.wordpress.com)

Seriously, reading the daily newspaper can be a frightening thing early in the morning these days!

Just read some of these stories:-

A woman who fell for a con artist’s sob stories on Facebook ended up being cheated of RM1.1mil (source)

And

A syndicate has cheated several companies of millions by placing orders using post-dated cheques and then disappearing with the goods. The cheques, meanwhile, are not honoured (source)

And

A woman is claiming that she was cheated of RM13,000 by a policeman who promised to secure bail for the release of her two sons, detained for alleged involvement in motorcycle theft. (source)

In the past, in addition to the abuse of tax-payers money by the locals, such con jobs are usually confined to emails from daughters or widows of a purported dictator or some politicians who had died leaving millions in the bank and with “sincere” request for a small fee to get the money out. Reward for this small help can be indeed very rewarding – millions dollars to be shared. Read:-

Ya, I even got an email from the FBI

Perhaps some stories can be too convincing indeed but on the other hand, the question also arises on whether we have been closing one eye to the influx of conmen and criminals into this country?

In the case of the woman who lost RM1.1 million to the conmen, the police acted fast and managed to arrest 2 Nigerians, 2 Bangladeshis and undisclosed number of locals. There was no surprise to note that there were Nigerians involved in this scheme. The Africans masquerading as students has been let loose in this country for a very long time now and you sometimes wonder how these students from poor impoverished countries who at times can’t even speak proper English can be driving luxury cars couple of months after they had arrived here.

The number of the Africans near my housing areas has been steady growing – perhaps they are indeed students but at times, they do show their ugly side of their character.

Then I read this in Malaysiakini which was another surprise:-

Malaysia has begun taking fingerprints from foreigners entering the country in a bid to prevent illegal immigrants coming in using fake papers, an official said today.

After the famed 9-11 tragedy, many governments around the world talked about implementing biometrics validation as another mean to nab known terrorists before they could do something sinister. Malaysia on the other hand probably felt that it is not necessary to the same considering we are in the safe part of the world. But all the while, we have been having problem with illegal immigrants. But why we did not start fingerprinting back then? Whilst we tried other means of enforcement like securing our borders, we never added fingerprinting as part of the arsenal against foreign criminals and terrorists.

However, it is better now than too late even though fingerprinting is only going to run on trial basis. NST quoted the Immigration Department Director General saying that 3% of the 24.4 million foreigners who visited the country in 2010 had been involved in various crimes. I wonder how many of them, the so-called students from the sub continent of Africa.

This measure will not however stop foreigners from committing crimes – we need to buck up on all other measures as well like better policing, better surveillances and investigations, better education and strict banking policies but perhaps we should be more diligent as well. It may sound unfortunate but when it come to dealing with foreigners and money, we may put on the distrust hat and triple check the “way too convincing” stories which if not checked, could make us lose millions. It is ok to be paranoia because this is how the world has come to be.

After all, we are closer to the end of the world

Related articles

A Letter from FBI


(Image source: http://www.norcalblogs.com)

Got this in my inbox the other day and it started as follows…

Anti-Terrorist and International Fraud Division.

Federal Bureau Of Investigation.

935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW.

Washington, DC 20535

The starting of the email sounded very serious and I started to wonder whether my ‘dark’ activities have been detected. As I continued to read further, I then got the joke when I read this:-

This is to officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an Investigation with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally won the sum of $800,000.00 USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America. During our investigation we discovered that your e-mail won the money from an Online Balloting System and we have authorized this winning to be paid to you via a Certified Cashier’s Check.

I must say that the 419 scam crooks are getting bold and creative but they should not have used ‘redmail’ email extension for their agent’s email address – bold and creative but not intelligent enough.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]