KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Parliament's Public Accounts Committee said today that it does not see the need for now to question Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who also holds the finance portfolio, or businessman Low Taek Jho.
PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said they will call up the current and former 1MDB CEOs, the state-owned fund's board of directors, as well as auditing firms that audited the debt-laden company owned by the Finance Ministry.
"We don't see the need at the moment," Jazlan told a press conference when asked if the PAC will question Najib or the flamboyant billionaire known as Jho Low.
Low had told Euromoney last April that he has no role whatsoever in 1MDB, with the financial news magazine saying that much of the speculation around the young billionaire's involvement in 1MDB relates to his role in its predecessor, the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
TIA was a state fund he devised with the state’s royals that was later taken over by the federal government.
Jazlan said today that Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director-general Datuk Seri Rahmat Bivi Yusoff testified earlier today before the PAC at the start of the committee's proceedings.
"This proves that the government, especially MOF (Finance Ministry) and the EPU, governs over 1MDB in a transparent, credible and accountable way by facing the Parliament's PAC," said Jazlan.
"On May 26, the 1MDB management that is currently led by CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy and former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrul Ibrahim Halmi, are scheduled to testify before this committee in the same proceedings," he added.
Besides the current and former CEOs, and the 1MDB board of directors, Jazlan said the PAC will also call up Ernst and Young, KPMG and Deloitte to find out why there was such a frequent change of 1MDB's auditors.
When asked what the top officials of Treasury and the EPU, which is under the Prime Minister's Department, told the PAC, Jazlan said the committee was informed that 1MDB is 100 per cent owned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated), which is owned by the Finance Ministry, and that they had played a role in monitoring the governance of 1MDB.
"Too early to tell," Jazlan said when posed several questions on who was in charge of 1MDB, whether the PAC will investigate if there was criminal breach of trust, or if the Treasury and EPU officials were aware of how the state-owned fund got into debt.
Jazlan said that while the Auditor-General is focusing on 1MDB's financial management in a separate investigation, the PAC will look at the entire history of the troubled state-owned fund.
"We're just going on a fact-finding mission," Jazlan said.