Former Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Hasan Ariffin says the tampering of the final Auditor-General’s report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) did not happen during his tenure.
“It was not during my time. I do not know what transpired.
“What is the deputy chairman of PAC saying?” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday (Oct 30).
He was asked to comment on the allegations that the final report was tampered with under the instruction of certain quarters.
“The allegations are not clear. I urge the PAC chairman to clarify it.
“For me, I do not know about it. We tabled as it is, which we received from the Auditor-General,” added Hasan.
Asked if it happened before his time, he replied, “I am not sure.”
On Monday (Oct 29), Wong Kah Woh (PH-Ipoh Timur), who is the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) deputy chairman, alleged that the final audit report on 1MDB was tampered with under the instruction from certain individuals.
Wong said not only the previous PAC members had failed to re-open investigation following the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) actions, but the original audit report was allegedly tampered with.
Reportedly, former PAC chairman Datuk Hasan Ariffin had admitted that he decided to remove information from the PAC report a day before it was tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2016, as it was from a confidential letter from Bank Negara Malaysia.
In May, it was reported that senior 1MDB officials withheld information from its board and took some decisions without the board’s approval.
Several high-risk investments were made and the 1MDB management went against the wishes of the board and the shareholders in some instances.
“Fortunately, there was a change in government on May 9, then only everything can be revisited,” Wong said in his speech while debating on the Mid Term Review on the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He also said that under the BN government major investigative and regulatory agencies have tarnished their credibility due to the 1MDB scandal.
“We have experienced before the 14th general elections, where agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) and Central Bank have lost their credibility.
“These agencies have lost their integrity as they often say there are no investigations pertaining to 1MDB,” he said.
On May 15, Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad announced that the 1MDB audit report was reclassified as an open document.
The report was classified as secret on Jan 22, 2016, and was presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on March 4, 2016.
Besides the special committee on 1MDB, a special task force headed by former attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was also set up on May 21 to investigate 1MDB and recover assets abroad.
Meanwhile, former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang says there has been no tampering of the original audit report of 1MDB.
“There is no tampering. I don’t know what he (Wong Kah Woh) means,” he told reporters today.
Ambrin, who is currently Special Investigation Committee on Procurement, Governance and Finance chair, stood resolutely by the integrity of his prepared report produced in 2016 and rejected any possibility that it was doctored.
He said he had full authority over the report, which he also asked to be classified under the Official Secrets Act previously.
“Yes, it is my report. I have total control over my report,” he exclaimed.
“That’s why I should be given a chance to explain to PAC,” he added.
When asked why his meeting to testify before the PAC was postponed, he said no reasons were given for the delay.
“I was ready to attend yesterday (Oct 29).
“I don’t know (the reason), you ask the PAC chairman, I was not there,” he said.
On Monday, PAC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said another date and time would be set for Ambrin to meet them.
Ambrin is among 20 witnesses called up as part of the investigation into the scandal.
In March 2015, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak had instructed the Auditor-General’s Department, then led by Ambrin, to audit 1MDB and pass it on to the PAC for further investigation. Najib had promised that the process would be a “transparent” one.
Almost a year later, the 500-page report was ready but Putrajaya took the unusual step of classifying the report, limiting its use to the PAC only.
In the end, the Najib administration would claim that the bi-partisan PAC had cleared him of any wrongdoing, although the report had highlighted many irregularities with 1MDB’s business.
The audit report was eventually declassified after Harapan took control of the federal government.