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‘Further probes needed or 1MDB ghost will never be laid to rest’
Published:  Apr 11, 2016 7:56 AM
Updated: 7:58 AM

The ‘ghost’ of state-owned fund 1MDB will never be laid to rest unless further investigations are carried out based on findings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as tabled in its report, an anti-corruption watchdog said today.

Transparency-International Malaysia (TI-M) president Akhbar Satar said this in raising concerns over corporate governance issues raised in the PAC report on 1MDB.

“The PAC findings and report have been a step in the right direction but more questions have been raised which demand further probing and investigation especially as to how the funds were ultimately used.

“Let the right, independent and professional people finish the job or the ghost (or empty shell?) of 1MDB will never be laid to rest,” said Akhbar in a statement.

Among others, Akhbar said TI-M had found many issues raised in the report which suggested a lack of diligence of the board of directors, the management of the 1MDB and even the advisory board which failed to adhere to good corporate governance practices in the business decision making process and even possible misappropriation of 1MDB funds.

As such, he argued that now is the time for the government to prove that it truly stands for integrity, transparency and the rule of law because there have been so much speculation and allegations due to the lack of disclosure on 1MDB’s corporate dealings.

Akhbar also pointed out that TI-M had made its first urging for greater transparency from 1MDB on Feb 22, 2014.

“Mismanagement is one thing, but the scale of this financial debacle suggests that this may not be all there is to it.

“Are we to ‘close one eye and move on’ when it is yet unclear where the money trail has gone? To allow billions to be at risk due to poor management is one thing - that this has happened is clear enough.

“To find out where the billions actually ended is surely the next step or we would be guilty of allowing two wrongs to make a right!,” he stressed.

He also urged the government to set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate numerous allegations of how the funds were used and where they ultimately ended.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, along with other Barisan Nasional ministers and leaders, had in response to the PAC report’s findings urged critics to move on from allegations of ‘missing’ taxpayers funds from 1MDB.

‘1MDB should engage forensic accountants’

Apart from the probe by the relevant enforcement agencies, TI-M also recommends 1MDB to engage forensic accountants to conduct an investigation on past activities of the company to find out whether there were any other irregularities and mismanagement which could have occurred.

“Perhaps such governance procedures should be more frequently used in the seven government-linked investment companies (GLICs) and over 200 government-linked companies (GLCs),” said Akhbar.

The PAC report was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on April 7 and inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar this morning said that police is scrutinising the 106-page report before deciding on further actions to be taken.

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