PAC to restart 1MDB probe next week

By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By BERNAMA

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will reopen investigations into debt-ridden sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) next week.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the select committee will reopen the probe on Monday.

The committee will call 20 witnesses to testify, starting with former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang who currently heads a special government investigation committee on procurement, governance and finance.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and businessman turned fugitive Low Taek Jho or Jho Low will also be summoned to testify before the 12-member bipartisan panel.

“We have a list of some 20 witnesses and we are going to start by calling (Tan Sri) Ambrin as our first witness. It is going to be a long proceeding,” Kiandee told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

The PAC had cleared Najib of any wrongdoings in the last investigation which was led by MP Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin (Umno-Rompin). The panel then had not even queried Najib and Low in the process of investigation.

Kiandee said testimonies from Najib and Low are crucial in helping the PAC conduct its investigation comprehensively.

On a separate note, Kiandee said Najib will be called in for the PAC’s inquiry on the “missing” RM19.4 billion Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds today.

Former Treasury secretary general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Customs Department DG Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy gave their testimonies yesterday.

Kiandee said proceedings on the lost credit returns are expected to conclude by the end of the Parliament session in December. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng will be the final witness to be called on Oct 30, after which the findings will be presented to the Dewan Rakyat.

“We hope we will wind up this case before the end of this Parliament meeting,” Kiandee said.

The current Parliament meeting began on Oct 15 and will adjourn on Dec 11.

In August, Lim revealed that a staggering RM19.4 billion in GST input tax had gone missing from the balance sheet. The money was meant for refunds for the consumption tax from April 2015 to May 31, 2018.

He said the existing repayment fund of only RM1.48 billion left the government with an RM18 billion shortfall to pay the GST refunds.

Lim’s claim that GST refunds had been “robbed” by the previous government has invited many reactions from members of the Opposition, who has asked Lim to back his claims with proof.

MP Khairy Jamaluddin (Umno-Rembau) has since lodged a report with the police over Lim’s claims, while Mohd Irwan has filed a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission after denying claims made by Lim.