'He cannot answer questions regarding what happened to 1MDB funds.'
PETALING JAYA: Najib Abdul Razak is disqualified from remaining as Prime Minister because he cannot account for the “disappearance of a huge amount” of money borrowed by 1MDB, former premier Mahathir Mohamad says in a blog posting today.
Mahathir makes a distinction between “loss” and “disappearance”.
He writes: “Governments can lose money through bad investments. We would know where the money is lost. But when huge sums of money disappear, then those entrusted with its management must answer for the disappearance.
“Disappearance is different from just losing. Disappearance is about money lost which cannot be traced. This can be because of corruption or theft.”
According to known records, Mahathir points out, 1MDB’s total borrowings have come to RM42 billion.
He then gives a list of investments and purchases that are known, noting that they account for RM14.7 billion.
“So there is approximately RM27 billion left,” he points out.
“More than US$1 billion were said to be paid to PetroSaudi without verification as to the value of this company or its assets.”
“Where is the rest of the money?”
After noting that a certain amount was said to have been parked in the Cayman Islands, Mahathir asks the following questions:
- What was the money used for?
- What was brought back to Malaysia?
- What was brought back and deposited in a Swiss bank in Singapore? Why?
- Where was the money brought back from?
- Why is this money not used to pay the RM2 billion interest (on a loan taken from local banks)?
- Why did Bank Negara allow the first tranche to be repatriated to Malaysia and not the second tranche?
- Now the Swiss bank has told the Singapore authorities that the document did not originate from them and does not represent a true account of the assets of 1MDB. So where is the money said to be registered in the Cayman Islands and is now brought back?
Mahathir says it is clear that 1MDB is not getting any returns from its investments. Furthermore, he adds, it is not only the company that is losing money; the government is losing too.
He says the government lost money when 1MDB paid far below the market rate for government land it bought in Sungai Besi and the area known as the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). “The total loss incurred by the government is approximately RM25 billion,” he says.
“1MDB revalued all its assets at RM52 billion. That is because government land was brought at far below the market price. It can only use this money to repay loans if it succeeds in selling them off as land or after development.
“Progress on TRX is very slow and there is no work on the Sungai Besi land. No money will be generated during development; only outflows.
“It is this disappearance of a huge amount of borrowed money by 1MDB and the inability to answer questions regarding what happened to the funds that disqualifies Najib from being Prime Minister of Malaysia.”