Thursday, May 28, 2015

PAC: No need to scrutinise 1MDB witnesses’ whereabouts

 It is not important to scrutinise the whereabouts of the absent 1MDB key witnesses, said Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said their explanation in the PAC hearing was more important than the reason behind their absence.

“We want answers during their tenure in 1MDB. That is more important than whether or not they have a good reason not to turn up at the PAC hearing,” he told reporters after chairing the PAC meeting here in Parliament, Thursday.

Earlier, Petaling Jaya Utara DAP MP Tony Pua said the parliamentary committee would query 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy and its former chief executive officer, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi on their absence.

Pua, who is also a PAC member, said he was not convinced when told that the 1MDB figures had a prior appointment overseas, when they were supposed to attend the hearing on May 25 and May 26.

But Nur Jazlan said this was the least of the committee’s concern.

“When they come, then we ask them-lah whether it’s true or not they were not in the country at the time they were supposed to see us.

“But what’s more important is their answer during their tenure in the company,” he said.

The Pulai MP however said their questioning would be aggressive if both Arul Kanda and Shahrol were found to deceive the committee on their explanation.

“If there’s any proof that they deceive us, the PAC members will not be sympathetic towards them.

“We are not, in the first place, but now we are going to be even less sympathetic towards them,” he said.

Asked whether the aggressive questioning would include telling them to prove their whereabouts in their absence, Nur Jazlan said, “No, no don’t focus on that. Focus on what they are going to answer, come on”.

Earlier, PAC had called three witnesses from Ministry of Defence on the construction and management of Wisma Perwira in Padang Tembak.

The matter came to light when the 2014 Auditors General report said that the federal government did not get “value for money” in the building, that cost an extra RM330,000 due to a construction delay of more than a year.

Nur Jazlan said they would call more from the ministry to testify for other projects cited in the AG report.

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