Malaysians were shocked to read the report on Thursday that Arul Kanda is one of the candidates being considered for the post of managing director of Khazanah Nasional.
It was reported by The Malaysian Insight that “a selection panel has been formed to look through the candidates who can take over from Azman (Mokhtar) whose contract expires in two years” and Arul Kanda is one of two outsiders being considered.
After the disastrous and disgraceful record at the debt-ridden 1MDB since his appointment in January 2015, Arul Kanda should be automatically disqualified from even consideration at the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
The latest catastrophe is the failure of 1MDB to fulfil its settlement obligations with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) in a timely matter. Despite claiming since April 24 this year that its repayment to IPIC would be fulfilled via the “monetisation” of 1MDB’s investment ‘units’ last known to be held in Singapore, IPIC had to twice extend the deadline for the first instalment payment scheduled on 31 July 2017.
1MDB has since managed to pay the “equivalent” of US$350 million on 11 August and would have up to 31 August to settle the balance of US$300 million. However, even the above partial payment of the first instalment is shrouded in mystery as it is clear that the 1MDB’s ‘units’ have not been monetized while the source of the 1MDB funds were unclear.
In addition, Arul Kanda has botched the so-called rationalisation with the original attempt to sell 60% of Bandar Malaysia to the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Sdn Bhd-led consortium. Despite 1MDB having collected 10% of the sale amounting to RM741 million as “deposit”, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had to terminate the contract due to IWH’s repeated failure to fulfil its obligations, and it was MOF which had to refund the RM741 million “deposit” to the purchaser.
However, the worst deed of Arul Kanda has been to repeatedly lie to the auditor-general, the public accounts committee and Malaysians in general, to cover up the 1MDB scandal to ensure that those behind the multi-billion dollar misappropriation in the company would be let off scot free.
For example, Arul Kanda is fully aware that 1MDB’s investment ‘units’ previously held at the now defunct BSI Bank, Singapore are fraudulent, and more importantly are worth at best a tiny fraction of their purported US$2.318 billion in valuation. The fraud has been uncovered by the United States Department of Justice, as reported in the additional civil suit filed in June this year.
However, despite having access to all the material documents and information, Arul Kanda has continued the pretence that 1MDB had already redeemed some US$1.3 billion worth of the ‘units’. At one point Arul Kanda even told the 1MDB directors that he has “seen the bank statements” that 1MDB had already received the proceeds in “cash”.
Today we know that the entire redemption exercise was a Ponzi-like round-tripping exercise using part of the proceeds from a Deutsche Bank loan to pretend that it’s the receipt from the ‘units’ redemption exercise.
Malaysians can only shiver in trepidation at the thought that a RM145 billion-Khazanah Nasional, which is relatively healthy today, would be helmed by the same person who hammered the final nail in 1MDB’s coffin.
The only thing more shocking I heard when I started sniffing around with regards to The Malaysian Insight report, is the possibility that Arul Kanda could be appointed as a senator, which comes with a ministerial position.
If that were true, then [it would be proof that only those without a shred of honesty and integrity get appointed to the cabinet].
TONY PUA IS DAP MP FOR PJ UTARA