‘I am a small fry,’ says Lodin on 1MDB management failure

Lodin and other 1MDB board members had resigned following the release of the PAC report on 1MDB in April 2016


1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) former chairman, Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin (picture), said he did want to be dragged into the controversy over former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s comment on the fund’s management fiduciary duties.

The former board members of the troubled fund had recently been thrown into the spotlight following Najib’s statement in an interview with Reuters that the board should have told him if something was wrong at the development.

“No. I am saying as a general principle, if they are in the know that something is not right, then it is incumbent upon them to tell me….It is the fiduciary duty of the board and the management to do the right thing. I expect them to do the right (thing) and to follow the law,” Najib was quoted by Reuters.

The former PM had denied blaming the state fund’s former board members over the alleged happenings at the fund. The public, however, is divided, with many demanding Najib not to shift the blame to the board members.

Najib is being investigated in relations to fund transfers from 1MDB and its subsidiary to his personal account (Pic by Muhd Amin Naharul/TMR)

Najib’s statement shifted the focus of the fund’s shortcomings from him to the fund’s board members and management team.

“I can’t comment as it involves legal matters and many other issues. “I do not want to engage that kind of (matter), let it be. Who are we? I am a small fry,” Lodin told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Lodin and other 1MDB board members had resigned following the release of the Public Account Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB in April 2016.

Another 1MDB board member Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, who was also the company’s former CEO, declined to comment when contacted by TMR.

Najib in the interview said he knew nothing about the money from the state fund appearing in his personal account and his advisors’, as the management and the board of the company had wrongly kept the embezzlement of funds a secret from him.

“I was not aware of these purchases (of handbags and other confiscated items by the authorities related to the scandal).

“This was done without my knowledge. I would never authorise 1MDB funds to be used for any of these items. I’ve been in the government so long, I know what’s right and what’s wrong,” he claimed.

The former PM is also expected to make more clarifications on the matter at the appropriate time.

Najib, who was the chair- man of 1MDB’s board of advisors, is being investigated in relations to fund transfers from 1MDB and its subsidiary to his personal account.

The former attorney general (AG) had previously cleared Najib of any wrongdoings related to the fund transfers. However, Barisan Nasional’s shocking defeat during the May 9 general election had reopened a massive investigation into the fund’s scandalous past.

PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad shot back at Najib’s statement on not knowing the happenings, saying that the former PM had always assumed “the people are stupid”.

In an interview with The Malay Mail, Dr Mahathir said Najib’s signatures were all over the related documents involving the state-owned fund.

“Who wants to believe him that he didn’t know when he signed (his name)? Every bit of money that goes in and out of the first borrowing of RM42 billion, all his signature,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying.

The 1MDB scandal is being investigated in no less than six countries. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has submitted the investigation papers on 1MDB to the AG’s Chambers. The new AG Tommy Thomas is scrutinising the investigation papers.

Thomas is also seeking cooperation from Switzerland, the US, France and the United Arab Emirates to assist in the investigation. It is the first time Malaysia is seeking help from other nations over the 1MDB scandal.

The MACC has also put financier Low Taek Jho, popularly known as Jho Low, and SRC International director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil Nik Othman Arif on its “Most Wanted List” to assist in the investigation.

The graft buster also issued the photofits of four other individuals — Tan Kim Loong, 40, also known as Eric Tan; Tang Keng Chee; Geh Choh Heng and Loo Ai Swan.