Titiwangsa MP also questions decision to agree on low settlement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc

KUALA LUMPUR – The decision to only prosecute a single individual in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal is unfair, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani (Titiwangsa-BN) said today in questioning the lack of action against others in the firm who pocketed millions of ringgit in salary.

While he did not mention any names, it is ostensibly in reference to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in August last year over his involvement in the multi-billion ringgit scandal.

Addressing the Dewan Rakyat, Johari bemoaned that several other senior 1MDB management earning big bucks were allowed to go scot-free in return for their commitment to be a crown witness in the high profile case.

He said this is particularly bewildering as the scandal could not have been pulled off by merely a single person, and urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to look into the matter.

“I want Tambun (Anwar) to scrutinise this. I don’t want future prime ministers (to be prosecuted) when there’s a scandal while others who worked in that entity (escape) by offering themselves to be a crown witness. That’s wrong.

“We must investigate…how is it that they earned lucrative salaries, but when there’s a problem, only one person shoulders the responsibility? I think this is unfair. If anyone is guilty, take action.

“How can this happen? This is a cartoon,” he said when debating the Budget 2023 in Parliament today.

Najib was sent to the Kajang Prison on August 23 last year after the Federal Court upheld the lower court’s guilty verdict of the former Pekan MP on all seven charges in his SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption case.

He still faces four other trials, namely the 1MDB graft case, the tampering of an audit report of the state investment arm, criminal breach of trust involving International Petroleum Investment Co, and three other additional charges related to SRC international.

Earlier during his debate, Johari had also questioned why the government had agreed in July 2020 to a settlement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc for an amount much lower than the US$6.5 billion (RM29.1 billion) bond it underwrote to 1MDB, of which about US$4.5 billion was diverted to pay bribes.

Goldman Sachs had received approximately US$606 million in fees and revenue for its role.

It has been reported previously that the firm has agreed to pay US$2.5 billion while guaranteeing the return of US$1.4 billion of 1MDB assets seized by authorities globally.

“They know they are guilty, but why did we agree for such a low settlement for such a high exposure?

“Lawyers representing 1MDB should, by right, look after 1MDB’s interest, not Goldman Sachs. They (Goldman Sachs) have clearly cheated us and they benefited US$606 million. How can we allow them to get away just like that?”

Gobind Singh Deo (Damansara-PH) similarly took issue with the amount of settlement agreed with the US multinational investment bank, especially when considering the interest payment involved in the US$6.5 billion bonds.

“If we include the interest, the figure is much higher at maybe RM9 or RM10 billion. How could we settle for US$2.5 billion (as settlement)? This must be explained properly.”

– The Vibes, February 27, 2023

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