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1MDB Audit Report Tampering Trial: The ‘tampered’ paragraphs

TheEdge Wed, Dec 04, 2019 04:00pm - 10 months ago


THE tampering charge is framed under Section 24(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which carries a jail term not exceeding 20 years or a fine of not less than RM10,000 or five times the amount of the gratification, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Below are the four material contradictions or missing paragraphs as stipulated in the charge sheet:-

 

Item 1:  Original report

The auditor-general (AG) noted that Najib had an audience with Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, who was Yang di Pertuan Agong at the time, on May 27, 2009, where the ex-PM agreed to postpone the RM5 billion Islamic murabahah term notes (IMTN) programme for further evaluation by the Special Monitory Committee.

However, the postponement was not relayed to the Cabinet, although the ministers had met on the same day, resulting in the IMTN being issued.

Terengganu Menteri Besar Inc, which originally owned Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) — the precursor of 1MDB — then gave a stern warning to the notes’ arranger, AmBank, on May 29, 2009, following the incident.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had asked for a report on the unauthorised issuance of the IMTN.

 

Amended report

Najib’s involvement in the IMTN was not mentioned at all. Instead, it said that the decision of TIA’s then-CEO (Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi) to go ahead with the issuance of the notes caused him to lose his directorship of the fund. However, Shahrol was then reappointed on the same date, through a TIA directors’ resolution.

 

Item 2: Original report

It was stated that 1MDB’s CEO told a board meeting dated Oct 10, 2009, that the IMTN issuance had to be accelerated, as demanded by TIA’s special adviser, in order to jointly develop Pulau Bidong with Mubadala Investment Company.

It should be noted that during the 1MDB-Tanore trial, Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin had testified that Low Taek Jho — better known as Jho Low — was TIA’s special adviser to the ex-PM in his capacity as chairman of the TIA advisory panel.

The AG also said Ambank’s representatives, who attended the same meeting, confirmed that TIA’s special adviser put pressure to accelerate the IMTN issuance.

The AG then detailed the RM3.8 billion IMTN, priced at RM88.158 for every RM100 nominal, being arranged by AmBank and on May 18, 2009, subscribed by Thailand’s Country Group Securities PCL (CGS), which on the same day signed a put option agreement with Acme Time Ltd as joint-transaction partner. CGS instructed Ambank to place out the entire RM3.8 billion IMTN three days later on May 21, 2009.

The IMTN were fully taken up by local institutions within four working days from May 21 to 26, 2009, and gave rise to a place out profit of RM449.61 million (US$127.27 million), of which AmBank paid US$1.3 million to CGS, and US$125.97 million to Acme Time.

 

Amended report

Information about pressure from TIA’s special adviser was removed, and the detailed arrangements with CGS and Acme Time were taken out. Instead, the report merely stated that the IMTN was a “bought deal” where AmBank, as lead arranger and primary subscriber, had obtained secondary market subscription for the issuance of this debt paper.

 

Item 3: Original report

The AG pointed out that during a PAC meeting dated Dec 18, 2015, a committee member questioned the existence of two versions of 1MDB’s financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2014, namely the one submitted to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and another one for the financial institutions that loaned money to the 1MDB Group.

The AG stated in the audit report that he found “some differences between the 1MDB financial statements submitted to SSM and a copy of the financial statements submitted to MoF Inc and financial institutions”.

The AG then listed three discrepancies between the two versions, two of them related to the following:

Disclosure of US$1.22 billion (RM4.03 billion) worth of redemptions received by Brazen Sky and the addition of a sentence stating that 1MDB had agreed to form a joint venture with Tenaga Nasional Bhd and a “US-based company” to undertake photovoltaic projects in Malaysia.

The AG also disclosed 1MDB’s response to queries on two versions of its financial statements.

“According to 1MDB management’s res­ponse dated Dec 9, 2015, there was only one financial statement for the year ended March 31, 2014, audited and issued by the company. In view of the significant differences in the two financial statements, it is advisable for the responsible authorities to make further investigation into the matter,” the AG said.

 

Amended report

All of the above were removed.

 

Item 4: Original report

In the section where the AG listed out the misinformation 1MDB provided to its auditor or readers of its financial statement, items related to the difference between financial statements given to SSM, MoF Inc and financial institutions were taken out.

The AG said that in 1MDB’s financial statement ended March 31, 2014, 1MDB told SSM that US$1.22 billion from redemption of investments in 1MDB PetroSaudi Ltd have been “substantially utilised” for the purposes of debt interest payment, working capital and payments to Aabar as refundable deposits, pursuant to a settlement agreement to extinguish the options agreement.

 

Amended report

However, 1MDB, in its financial statement to MoF Inc and other financial institutions, stated that the same amount of money had been “substantially set aside” for the same purposes.

Another portion removed was Jho Low’s attendance of a 1MDB special board meeting dated Sept 26, 2009, where 1MDB’s transfer of US$1 billion to its joint-venture company with PetroSaudi International Ltd, called 1MDB PetroSaudi Ltd, was approved where, subsequently, US$700 million was siphoned off to Good Star Ltd, a unit linked to Low.

The AG said Low’s attendance was not recorded in the meeting minutes provided to them, but an investigation at 1MDB’s office building on April 15, 2015, found another meeting minutes had recorded Low’s attendance.

The AG also said that his interview with former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh on June 19, 2015, confirmed that Low attended the meeting and the AG was presented a copy of the meeting minutes that recorded Low’s attendance.

 

 






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