KUALA LUMPUR : 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had dealt directly with the top executives of Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and its subsidiary, Aabar Investments PJS (Aabar), in a US$3.5 billion deal involving Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (Aabar BVI).
In a wide-ranging interview on RTM1's Special Dialogue programme last night, 1MDB president and group chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy said the payments made to Aabar BVI in 2012 and 2013 were done following interactions between 1MDB and IPIC managing director Khadem Al Qubaisi and Aabar chief executive officer Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny.
He was responding to IPIC and Aabar, who had said in a statement to the London Stock Exchage that they did not have links to Aabar BVI or that they had received payments from the company that was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
Arul said such a statement is wrong, as the agreement on the deal was done with Qubaisi and Husseiny.
He said the company's responsibility now is to study the deal further, and find out where 1MDB's money had gone if it is not with IPIC.
“The payment were made in 2012 and 2013 and they are visible in 1MDB's audited financial statements, a public document that can be accessed through the Company Commission Malaysia,” he said.
Arul also questioned why is this issue being raised after all these years.
“This raises doubt on this issue,” he said, adding that 1MDB would make announcements when it found out more.
Earlier, Arul said 1MDB was an open book and was the most investigated company in Malaysia's history.
He said the National Audit Department, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, police, Bank Negara and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had investigated the company.
He said investigations report prepared by PAC was a final and collective report that was done by both the government and opposition committee members.
“The 106 pages report prepared by PAC, had been thorough... It is a presay, a shortened version, a summary of what were inside the Auditor-General's report.
“It has finalised all the facts there is about 1MDB, and more, the report also shows the accountability and how the company can move forward.”
During the one-hour odd dialogue, Arul was asked about the recommendations made by PAC, including to hold 1MDB's former chief executive officer accountable for its mismanagement, for the company's advisory board to be dissolved, and for 1MDB's assets to be moved to the Finance Ministry.
Arul said 1MDB was in discussions with its shareholders over the dissulotion of the advisory board and the transfer of assets, while the mismanagement was still under police investigation.
“If we study the PAC report, it did not name just the former CEO, but also the board of directors as having several weaknesses in its decision-making process.
“What is important is (the principle of ) 'innocent until proven guilty'. We can't blame a person, until the process of investigation has been finalised.”
He said it was important to realise that the words "wrongdoing" and “crime” were not used in the PAC report.
“What was said in the report was that there were weaknesses and several restrictions in the management of 1MDB.
“However, PAC has asked the authorities to investigate if there was wrongdoing, and investigators must carry out their duties so they can find out if there was wrongdoing,” he said.