MoF should go after KPMG, Deloitte next on 1MDB scandal, says Pua

The MP says MoF must ensure similar resolutions are reached, whether through courts or settlements

by LYDIA NATHAN / Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

OPPOSITION MP Tony Pua (picture) has called on the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to hold KPMG Malaysia and Deloitte PLT accountable for their role in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Following AMMB Holdings Bhd’s agreement to pay RM2.83 billion to settle claims linked to 1MDB, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said the MoF must now ensure similar resolutions are reached, whether through the courts or settlements, with the two former 1MDB auditors.

Pua said despite claim that documents against KPMG and Deloitte had been completed more than a year ago, both parties failed to demonstrate any form of remorse.

“Both parties have refused to acknowledge any degree of culpability in the RM50 billion scandal despite clear evidence of their failure to carry out their audit responsibilities in a competent and diligent manner,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Pua urged MoF not to give any quarters in its negotiations towards both parties, adding that he has personally filed complaints against both for the filing of fraudulent 1MDB annual financial statements.

“If they have demonstrated no remorse for their culpability in the tens of billions of ringgit for the Malaysian taxpayers, MoF, via 1MDB, must immediately file the relevant suits, which have been fully prepared, against them in the courts,” he said.

Pua said his claim against KPMG was for its failure to take into consideration the material disclosures of the transactions which took place in 1MDB’s then RM4.05 billion investment to form an aborted joint venture with Petrosaudi International Ltd in 2009-2010, including at least US$700 million (RM2.84 billion) that was siphoned to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho’s (or Jho Low) company, Good Star Ltd.

“KPMG had performed the arguably record-breaking feat of signing off the March 2010 financial audit within three weeks after being appointed in September 2010, after the original auditors Ernst & Young (EY) Malaysia were sacked. EY had refused to sign it off due to irregularities in transactions with Petrosaudi.

“Deloitte then took over from KPMG after it was sacked in December 2013. KPMG had refused to sign off the March 2013 accounts because it was unable to verify the authenticity of 1MDB’s US$2.32 billion investment in a dodgy investment fund parked in

the Cayman Islands,” Pua said. He further added that Deloitte failed in its audit of 1MDB’s financial statements for March 2013 and 2014 when it couldn’t properly expense the stock options which 1MDB had granted to Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS.

Pua lauded MoF for finalising the RM2.83 billion settlement with AmBank Group over its culpability in the 1MDB corruption scandal.

“I must express my appreciation to the senior management of AmBank for its steadfast cooperation. The new management has made no attempts to deny their culpability and was eager to make amends to move forward.

“I believe that the settlement of RM2.83 billion, which amounted to nearly 30% of the bank’s market capitalisation, is a fair sum, given the level of cooperation provided to the government,” he said.

He also thanked the Malaysian Institute of Accountants’ (MIA) Investigation Committee, which concluded wrongdoings by both accounting firms in 2018, for its continuous effort and to have brought the cases to be heard before the Disciplinary Committee of the MIA.