Johari still head of 1MDB task force

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Despite being appointed Plantation and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani says he still chairs the government’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) task force.

“At this moment, I am still (leading the taskforce),” he told reporters on Wednesday (Dec 13) after clocking in on his first day of work at the ministry here.

Asked if he would be replaced on the task force, he replied: “Let’s see later. Whoever is brave can do it”.

Johari was part of the new Cabinet line-up announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday (Dec 12).

Johari, who is also known as a vocal critic of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, was appointed to chair the task force in March.

Johari said the task force had completed a lot of work and was monitoring developments in the ongoing arbitration filed by Goldman Sachs against Malaysia.

“After four extensions, Goldman Sachs still doesn’t want to make the first payment of US$250mil.

“It argued that our earlier settlement with Ambank and Ipic is considered a form of recovery. But that doesn’t come under recovery, as it is a form of settlement.

“So, the arbitration was filed to get a ruling on whether or not Goldman Sachs still owes us,” he added.

Goldman Sachs and the government are currently in dispute over how much the US bank owes Malaysia for its role in raising US$6.5bil (RM29.4bil at present exchange rates) in 2012 and 2013 for 1MDB.

The settlement announced by a previous government in July 2020 called for Goldman Sachs to pay US$2.5bil (RM11.3bil) while guaranteeing the return of US$1.4bil (RM6.33bil) of 1MDB assets seized by authorities around the world, in exchange for Malaysia dropping charges against the bank.

The Titiwangsa MP had said the US$2.5bil figure agreed upon was too little, and Goldman Sachs should be made to pay the US$1.4bil sum outright. – The Star