I have asked the Sarawak Pakatan Harapan Chairman and Sarawak State Assembly Leader, Chong Chien Jen whether the Sarawak State Assembly could be the first State Assembly in Malaysia to condemn 1MDB “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal following the damning guilty plea of former Goldman Sachs banker Timothy Leissner to immoral and colossal theft of Malaysian public funds.
Chong will discuss with the Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg on the possibility of the Sarawak State Assembly taking the lead for all State Assemblies in Malaysia to condemn the heinous corruption, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering crimes committed in the 1MDB scandal, which involved tens of billions of ringgit of funds of Sarawakians and Malaysians.
Last week, the Sarawak State Assembly unanimously passed a ministerial motion on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to form a high-level special task force to negotiate with the federal government to resolve all outstanding issues related to compliance and upholding of the constitutional safeguards and special rights accorded to Sarawak in accordance with the terms, intent and spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
I do not see why the Sarawak State Assembly cannot unanimously pass another motion supported by both sides of the Assembly to condemn the most heinous multi-billion ringgit corruption, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering crime in the nation’s history, which affects not only all states in Malaysia but future generations as well.
For years, Sarawakians and Malaysians have been told that the 1MDB scandal was fake news, a concoction of disloyal and anti-national elements in cahoots with foreign forces to topple the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the UMNO/BN Government, but such fables have become unsustainable after the historic 14th General Election result of May 9, 2018.
However, the full scope, extent and magnitude of the colossal and immoral 1MDB scandal can only be fathomed after the indictments and filings against former Goldman Sachs banker Timothy Leissner by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) were unsealed in a court in New York last Thursday.
It is now world news and not fake news that Timothy Leissner and another former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng paid bribes and stole and laundered money from 1MDB, putting Goldman Sachs at the center of one of the biggest financial frauds in history.
Timothy Leissner, then head of Goldman Sachs in Southeast Asia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and violate foreign antibribery laws for helping siphon off billions of dollars from 1MDB.
Former Goldman managing director Roger Ng, and the mastermind of the fraud, Malaysian financier Jho Low, were indicted on three counts of conspiring to violate foreign antibribery laws and launder money.
Goldman underwrote about US$6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB. The indictment detailed how the bankers bribed government officials to get the bond deals, controlled offshore accounts where the stolen money was funneled and helped launder the proceeds.
Goldman was paid $600 million in fees from 1MDB for the deals, making the investment fund one of Goldman’s most profitable clients in the world in those years.
The unsealing of the filings and indictments against Tim Leissner, Roger Ng and Jho Low are “must read” material for every elected representative, whether Member of Parliament or State Assembly representative.
Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor are facing a host of criminal charges in Malaysia from corruption, money laundering to abuse of power in the 1MDB scandal.
From the US DOJ proceedings, it is clear that the 38 charges levelled against Najib was only scratching the surface of the 1MDB scandal.
The DoJ charge sheet does not name Najib by person. However, the description of the high-ranking “Malaysian Official No. 1” (MO1) that allegedly benefitted from the funds diverted from 1MDB fits that of the former Prime Minister and none other than Najib’s right-hand man, former senior UMNO Minister and BN strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had openly admitted that “MO1” is none other than Najib.
Najib should explain to Parliament next week why for three years he pretended that he did not know that “MO1” was a direct reference to him, and why he had not answered the charges levelled against “”MO1”.
Even in the his recent aborted Al Jazeera interview, Najib had denied any knowledge that money which he received came from funds raised by 1MDB. He also denied knowing that a multi-million-dollar piece of jewellery “presented” to his wife was actually bought using proceeds from 1MDB’s bond issues.
He contended that it was a gift from royalty in the United Arab Emirates and that expensive gifts were common among dignitaries.
However, according to the US DoJ filing unsealed last Thursday (Nov 1), it referred to a meeting in New York in Sept. 2013 where Najib, Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor and Jho Low were present, where a jeweler presented Rosmah with a custom-made 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace. The jewels cost US$27.3mil (RM114mil).
The money came from funds that were raised by Goldman for 1MDB and then diverted into accounts controlled by Low, according to the filings.
This is a totally different account from that given by Najib in his aborted Al Jazeera interview.