MP SPEAKS | The Al Jazeera programme "Malaysia: The World’s Biggest Heist" featuring the former PetroSaudi International employee, Swiss national Xavier Andre Justo, is the latest 1MDB 'chicken' coming home to roost.
The question posed at the end of the programme: "If PetroSaudi had paid Justo the money he said he was owed, would the world's biggest heist have ever been exposed?" should be food for thought for all Malaysians.
Justo’s answer to the question was simple and straightforward – he did not know.
At least half a dozen criminal investigations into the misappropriation of billions of dollars from 1MDB are currently underway around the world and charges are being laid not only against former premier Najib Abdul Razak and conspirators, but also against executives from global financial institutions.
The other mastermind of the 1MDB scandal, Low Taek Jho, is on the run and has become the most infamous international fugitive from justice.
But without Justo’s more than 200,000 confidential PetroSaudi’s emails – containing evidence of the genesis of the criminal embezzlement and money-laundering activities – the exposé of the world’s biggest heist would still have been made, but it would have taken a longer time to do so.
This was because the historic decision of voters in the 14th general election to oust Najib was the most far-reaching and critical decision that made it impossible for him to continue the charade – which he had done so by subverting and suborning the three branches of government, the national investigatory and enforcement institutions and the media in Malaysia.
Al Jazeera’s programme reminded Malaysians of other 1MDB chickens coming home to roost, in particular the opening of Najib’s trial for the first series of his 42 corruption, embezzlement and money-laundering charges next Tuesday – now uncertain because of his application of a stay of his scheduled hearing on seven charges – and the infamous interview with Al Jazeera last October when he lost his cool several times and finally walked out of the interview.
Watching again Najib’s walkout interview with Al Jazeera, one is again reminded of the shock when he said the IMDB scandal must be investigated to find out where the money disappeared to, and that such investigation must not stop at Low, but to “get others involved as well because there are other international figures who are probably involved.”
Was Najib referring to the bankers of Goldman Sachs, which recently apologised publicly to the people of Malaysia for the 1MDB scandal, as the bank was the underwriter and arranger of three bonds that raised US$6.5 billion for 1MDB and was responsible for the theft of billions of dollars of 1MDB?
It is not enough for Goldman to apologise to the people of Malaysia for the 1MDB scandal, or for former chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein to stand to lose up to US$14.245 million (RM58.3 million) in bonuses over the 1MDB imbroglio.
The bank must be prepared to pay for its sins and to make billions of dollars of reparation to Malaysia for the theft and fraud in the 1MDB scandal.
The question which cries out for answer was how Najib could claim ignorance and innocence right up to GE14, when the US Department of Justice initiated its largest kleptocratic litigation to forfeit US$1.7 billion out of US$4.5 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland, and provided the detailed money trail of the world’s greatest heist?
Najib would have continued to cover up the 1MDB scandal, aided and abetted by his cabinet, parliament, judiciary, the national institutions of investigation and enforcement as well as the media, if his dream had come true in the 14th general election – not only to continue as prime minister but to return to Parliament with BN recapturing a two-thirds majority!
The nation is still waiting for the untold story of how the ministers and leaders of BN, as well as the major institutions of state, had betrayed Malaysia in aiding and abetting Najib in the cover-up of the 1MDB scandal.
There were some silver linings, however, like the US$2 million given by The Edge Media Group chairperson Tong Kooi Ong to Justo, who Al Jazeera has described as “the accidental hero” of the 1MDB scandal.
From his recent interviews, Najib is beginning to accept that his legacy includes the monstrous 1MDB scandal and the infamy of transforming Malaysia into a global kleptocracy, but his claim to be completely in the dark about it is just hilarious and incredible.
As if he did not know what the world knows that his wife, Rosmah Mansor and stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, had benefitted to the tune of tens of millions of dollars from 1MDB.
Did Najib launch any investigation into the 1MDB scandal between the period of the US DOJ litigation and the 14th general election, if he was really in the dark about what was happening in scandal?
Not only Najib did not do so, he went into an offensive and unleashed his hounds of propagandists in the cabinet and the cybersphere to attack critics and whistleblowers of the 1MDB scandal.
Until today, not a single one of these culprits – including Najib’s ministers in Umno, MCA and BN – who betrayed the nation had shown any remorse or contrition for their treachery to the nation.
What would have happened to Malaysia and the 1MDB scandal if Najib was still prime minister of Malaysia?
More 1MDB chickens will come home to roost in the coming months.
LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.