Shocking neglect of duty by 1MDB board and chairman, says Pua

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PETALING JAYA: Tony Pua says it is ridiculous that the three-man board of 1MDB, chaired by Irwan Siregar, has not met since before July last year, with all that is happening around the world linked to the state-owned investment firm.

Referring to his question on the re-audit of 1MDB accounts for the year 2013 and 2014 in the Dewan Rakyat last week, Pua noted that the finance minister had responded that the Board of Directors will make a decision “after further discussions with the new auditor”.

“The ministry’s reply also stated that the last time the Board of Directors met to discuss the implications of the US Department of Justice asset-seizure suit was prior to July 26, 2016 when 1MDB had issued a press statement.

“Irwan Serigar must answer as to why he and his fellow directors are so tardy in making urgent and critical decisions on the financial audit of scandal-ridden 1MDB,” the DAP national publicity secretary said in a statement released today.

Irwan Serigar was named chairman of the 1MDB board in May last year.

Saying with court prosecutions having taken place over the past six months in Singapore and Switzerland, against banks which had facilitated money-laundering transactions linked to US$5 billion allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB, Pua questioned how could Irwan Siregar act as if it is no big deal.

“Malaysians are shocked that for almost a year after Irwan Serigar took over the 1MDB chairmanship from the disgraced Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, the Board of Directors had basically sat on their backsides and demonstrated little or no urgency over the 1MDB fiasco.

“Despite the gravity of the crime, our treasurer-general, the most senior civil servant responsible for managing our hundreds of billions of ringgit of annual tax revenue has shown only nonchalance in the scandal,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.

Pua also highlighted the statutory requirements under the Companies Act for an annual submission of financial statements endorsed by an appointed external auditor to the Registrar of Companies.

“The last audited financial statements filed by 1MDB was for the accounts for the year-ending March 2014. 1MDB has failed to file their financial statements for two consecutive years, the financial year ending March 2015 and March 2016 which were due to by October 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“Even so, Deloitte Malaysia has since July last year, withdrawn its endorsements for the financial statements of March 2013 and 2014,” he said adding that an audit for the past two years was now not even possible with the previous two years having been declared unreliable by Deloitte themselves.

“Any auditor worth their salt would immediately tell you that they will not be able to complete a financial audit for the year without the ‘opening balance’ or prior year accounts. So the only resolution for the above matter is for the accounts for March 2013 and 2014 to be re-audited and re-stated.”

Pua, an early critic of 1MDB and member of the Public Accounts Committee which probed the scandal, questioned the 1MDB board for continuing to drag its feet.

“We call upon Irwan Serigar to do what he is being paid to do by the Malaysian tax-payers properly. He must remember that his job is to protect the integrity of his office.”