Sunday, 22 October 2017
22 October 2017
The Venezuelan newspaper ‘Venezuela al Dia’ has just reported a highly significant development in the courts of that country. It adds yet another jurisdiction to the many now investigating, and in this case prosecuting, 1MDB related crimes.
According to the paper, the Attorney General’s Office of Venezuela has brought charges against a raft of officials from the state oil company PDVSA, who they say colluded with the company PetroSaudi in a fraudulent oil contract. The deal was designed to net the Saudi ‘joint venture partner’ of 1MDB a staggering half billion dollars a day each for two substandard drilling ships that were engaged to operate in Venezuela’s coastal waters.
Sarawak Report has already reported on the questionable nature of the deal, which was secured after PetroSaudi was able to place several million dollars up front on the table. That money had come from 1MDB and the contract was supposed to be part of their joint venture.
All the six men named in the indictment (Romer Valdez, Jesus Figueroa, Lioner Valdez, Adelso Molero, Elías Roa and Rafael Rodríguez) feature in correspondence between PetroSaudi and PDVSA relating to those deals, according to the information seen by Sarawak Report.
The US Department of Justice court filing on 1MDB has likewise exposed serious concerns about PetroSaudi’s Venezuelan venture, citing that the two aging drill ships had also turned out to have been the sole asset on which 1MDB’s supposed $2.3 billion worth of ‘units’ in a mystery Cayman Island investment trust portfolio relied. The ships are worth less than $100 million and neither are currently operational.
$130 Million Legal Dispute
Despite a lamentable record of delivery of oil by these two rigs, which led to PDVSA refusing to continue to fulfil its astronomical rental agreements, PetroSaudi has continued to press for its half million a day payments (money that in theory ought to go to 1MDB). The company had succeeded in getting the Venezuelans to agree to a bank letter of credit arrangement whereby $130 million would be paid to PetroSaudi in the event of such a dispute.
Sarawak Report has reported that the UK High Court (which had jurisdiction over the deal) had backed PDVSA’s refusal to release the $130 million Letter Of Credit, on the basis there was evidence of fraud on the part of PetroSaudi and its collaborators on the deal. However, the Court of Appeal has subsequently reversed that decision.
This matter is now due to be decided upon by the Supreme Court of the UK, just as the Venezuelan action against its own officials has heavily substantiated the evidence that the contract was indeed based on deliberate fraud.
Meanwhile, once again, claims of innocence on the part of 1MDB and PetroSaudi have been contradicted by the official actions of state regulators and investigators. Brlow is our translation of the article:
On September 20, the 10th Court of Control of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas admitted a complaint filed by attorney Rafael Antonio Osío Tovar against Romer Valdez, Jesus Figueroa, Lioner Valdez, Adelso Molero, Elías Roa and Rafael Rodríguez for the crimes of embezzlement and falsification, for irregularities in the rental of an oil rig in a $ 1.3 billion contract between Petróleos de Venezuela, Neptune Marine & Drilling and PetroSaudí.
The plaintiff, Osío Tovar, who is part of the Attorney General’s Office, filed a case against six men linked to Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), after finding alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds contained in the contract signed in 2007 for the lease of a drilling vessel. The multi-million dollar Drilling Contract No. NMD DISC DRL 151.0035 was entered into between PDVSA and Neptune Marine & Drilling in October 2007 to lease the Discover unit for offshore operations, negotiated and signed by Luis Vierrna’s team, with the direct participation of Eulogio del Pino, reported the prestigious magazine Petroleum World.
The contract, already close to its expiration, was scandalously restored and ceded to PetroSaudi on January 10, 2010 pursuant to an assignment agreement between Pdvsa, PetroSaudi and Neptune. In parallel, to complete the plan, a separate agreement was signed [Drilling Contract No. 4600036377] in September 2010 between Pdvsa and PetroSaudi Oil Services, for a record number of more than 1300 million dollars, adding another boat the Saturn, to the operations of PDVSA.
Approved by Del Pino and the rest of the executives, PDVSA paid daily rates of more than half a million dollars for each ship, with a surcharge, more if you take into account that the ships were considered useless scrap, that did not meet any of the objectives of drilling, as evidenced in the Internal Reports of the Offshore Division of PDVSA.
PetroSaudí is a private company, of a more financial nature than operational. It was founded in 2005 by a member of the Saudi royal family, Turki Bin Abdullah Al Saud, and a Saudi citizen, Tarek Essam Ahmad Obaid.
Despite this conflict, last March a London court ordered PDVSA to pay PetroSaudí’s USD 130 million in unpaid bills. Venezuela reacted announcing that it would appeal the decision and denounced the company before the Permanent Court of Arbitration of the United Nations for bFreaching the terms of the Saturn contract. According to documents to which this wording obtained access, Valdez has given a power of attorney in the US state of Texas to Jose Antonio Bonvicini, Luis García, Daniel García and Luis Miguel García, in order to represent him before Venezuelan courts and the Public Ministry and clarify the facts to which it is linked.
With reference to the social media and WhatsApp postings circulating pertaining to an incident at PETRONAS Station Simpang Pulai Arah Selatan, PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB) has carried out an investigation and wishes to clarify that the issue was with the rate of dispensing and not dispute of fuel-up quantity as claimed.
PDB has taken immediate action and is pleased to inform that the said pump has now been rectified.
PDB would like to emphasise that all of its fuel pumps are regularly calibrated and that this is an isolated case of technical glitch, which does not affect top-up quantity at all.
We hope the above clarifies the matter and we seek your kind co-operation to refrain from further sharing the false claim.
We value all feedback received as part of our commitment to extend service excellence to our customers.
For further enquiries and feedback, please visit our website at www.mymesra.com.my or contact Mesralink at 1 300 88 8181.
. . . . . .
Sehubungan dengan insiden di stesen PETRONAS Simpang Pulai Arah Selatan yang dimuat naik dalam laman sosial media dan WhatsApp, PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB) ingin menjelaskan bahawa masalah teknikal yang dialami adalah berkaitan dengan kadar kelajuan aliran pam dan bukannya perbezaan dalam kuantiti minyak yang diisi, seperti yang didakwa.
PDB telah mengambil tindakan segera dan kerja-kerja baik pulih telah dilaksanakan. Pam kini telah beroperasi seperti biasa.
PDB ingin menegaskan bahawa semua pam di stesen kami senantiasa dikalibrasi dan gangguan teknikal ini merupakan kes terpencil yang tidak menjejaskan kuantiti isian sama sekali.
Kami berharap ini memperjelaskan perkara di atas dan kami memohon kerjasama anda untuk tidak terus mengedarkan informasi palsu ini.
Maklum balas dari anda amat dihargai. Kami sentiasa berusaha untuk memperbaiki mutu perkhidmatan bagi memberikan pengalaman terbaik untuk para pelanggan di semua stesen kami.
Untuk sebarang aduan atau maklumat, hubungi ejen khidmat pelanggan kami di talian hotline 1-300-88-8181 atau email email@example.com.
PDB is the domestic marketing arm of PETRONAS and Malaysia’s leading retailer and marketer of downstream oil and gas products. PDB markets a wide range of high quality liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, kerosene, NGV and diesel, with branches country wide.
steadyaku47 comment :
Why am I not comforted by what Petronas has said? That "the issue was with the rate of dispensing and not dispute of fuel-up quantity as claimed". Why am I still thinking that I have been "fucked"and diddled out of my hard earned cash every time I stop at a Petronas Petrol station to fill up my car with petrol?
What does Petronas take me for? An Idiot?
Petronas tells me that "the issue was with the rate of dispensing and not dispute of fuel-up quantity".....well excuse me....this is what I see in the videos being circulated. The motorists finishes pumping petrol into his petrol tank...takes the pump nozzle out of his car petrol tank....no more petrol is seen coming out of the nozzle...and the meter is still clicking away adding a few cents to the final petrol bill.
Now what has that got to do with "the rate of dispensing?" No more petrol is being pumped into the petrol tank and the meter is still clicking away! That to me is outright fraud! Not an issue of the rate of dispensing .....just plain out right fraud!
Will I use a Petronas Petrol station when I am next in KL? Not if I can help it!
End of story.
Malays who have never stole before, are now thieves. Bankers who were the very image of propriety and honesty are now, thieves. Government servants who were the vanguard of all that was good and proper in past governments, are also now, thieves.
They are all at it....plundering the bejeezus out of our nation's coffers. Overtly, covertly, legally, illegally, quietly, loudly. In millions and billions. In every which way they can. Politicians, businessmen, bankers, government servants...anybody who can get their snouts in the trough ........the whole damm lot of them....merrily and insanely taking what they can of our money from our nation's coffers.
The scale is breath taking. If you think Marcos and Suharto are thieves then what words can you use to describe what Najib & Rosmah are now doing? The world has not seen anything on the scale of what is now happening in Bolehland! Hundreds of millions of ringgits are being handed out to individuals by the stroke of a pen! Many billions are being "invested" by resolutions passed in the numerous boardrooms of statutory bodies tasked with managing the nation's billions....all complicit in the grand design perpetrated by Najib & Rosmah : that of taking for themselves, and anyone else with their snout in the trough, billions by fraud, stealth and thievery.
At the very apex of this mad Ponzi Scheme sits that prime minister that embarrass me....Najib Razak and his wife. The money does not come from legitimate business activities or from profit of financial trading....no Sir...it comes from sleight of hands and paper work that transfers funds from legitimate investments into the accounts of individuals complicit in what their religion forbids them to do...cheating, scamming and out right fraud.
Malays who have never stole before, are now thieves. Bankers who were the very image of propriety and honesty are now, thieves. Government servants who were the vanguard of all that was good and proper about past governments, are also now thieves.
How is this possible?
Where are the checks and balances that should have stopped these abuses of political power and complicity by so many of our finest in the vast conspiracy to defraud our people, our nation and the future of our children? Where indeed!
What Saundra Rafizi have told us recently about that Hotel bought with our money ...FGV's money, and then transferred into some BVI entity, is but the tip of the bloody iceberg!
But all of this .....every one of them...like 1MDB...like those business opportunities coming from China, that trip to help the US....all of them goes all the way back and then all the way up to......Najib Razak! Prime minister extraordinaire of Boleh land where everything is Boleh!
Right now I am writing on adrenaline alone. I am angry, upset, seething...all these emotions are within me as I think of what Najib Razak has done for himself at our expense...and more of concern...the thousand of Malays he has taken on to this audacious greed trip that defies any attempt by any rationale, for anyone to comprehend.
What need is there for anyone to want billions? Not millions, not hundred of millions ...but billions of ringgit that belong to others? Bill Gates made his fortune from Microsoft. Trump from property and his ability to come on to the winning side of any deal he cares to enter into. The late Yeoh Tiong Lay from construction. Where does Najib fortune comes from? The same place from where the thousand of Malays who have become fraudulently and insanely rich, got their money from! From the Rakyat. From you and me!
Ponder that all you Umno idiots that are prepared to fight tooth and nail to keep Najib as their president!
Ponder that all you BN affiliates as you pick up the dedak thrown at you by Najib.
Ponder that all you descendants of Tun Razak Hussein....and as you ponder, forget not that karma is nigh. A few more months and judgement day will arrive. You can run to parts unknown and draw upon that off shore account in which you have already parked your ill gotten money....but you will have to keep looking over your shoulders all the time waiting, waiting, waiting for your day of reckoning when the law finally catches up with you.
Stealing from the Rakyat is not for the faint hearted.
However much, money can do in providing for your material wants, your heart will always beat with the certainty that what you have done in taking money that does not belongs to you....is wrong! Today many many Malays are beginning to ask themselves if what they have been prepared to do to become "rich" is worth the eternal damnation that they have placed themselves in.
1MDB is just the tip of the iceberg. Even if 1MDB had made a few individuals insanely wealthy, all of them can be counted on the digits of your hands and feet. What is to come will involve Malays who are not that far removed from you. Your relatives, your own father and mother, northers ...even sisters! Some would already have bought properties abroad in anticipation of having to make a run for the hills when Najib Razak is removed from office. Those who have off shore accounts from where they have been drawing from time to time, will think themselves set up for life in the belief that if anything happens, they have a nest egg of illicit funds stashed in parts unknown. Ninety nine percent of these robbers and thieves are Malays and all are beholden to Najib Razak & Rosmah...and that is why Najib is still where he is in Umno and in Putrajaya. What happens when Najib & Rosmah will themselves,have to run for the hills?
Najib is a spent political force. Rosmah is a fat bitch with no redeeming values. It is in the nature of Umno politics that any one who becomes an electoral liability is first given the option of a graceful exit. This, I am told, will not be the case for Najib Razak & Rosmah. The contempt for them within Umno is palpable. When Umno has decided that Najib & Rosmah will go, their departure will be a surgical incision that will see them take the first available flight out of our country lest the demand for their incarceration becomes too insistent for Umno and his successor to ignore.
And I have it on good authority that that time nears with a certainty as death will come to all of us sooner or later. For Najib & Rosmah, it will be sooner!
Saturday, 21 October 2017
21 October 2017
Can Malaysians reassure themselves that, although their over-powerful Prime Minister set up a giant slush-fund to finance vote buying and a hoard of diamonds for his wife (1MDB), the rest of their public institutions remain financially intact?
This week opposition MP Rafizi Ramli exposed the latest in a string of troubling irregularities to beset a second government-managed fund, FELDA, set up to support the rural farming communities.
The Kensington Grand Plaza Hotel in London is already part of a major investigation into FELDA given that it was bought way over market price in 2014 (RM330 million allegedly three times its actual value) and fits a pattern of other spectacularly over-priced foreign property purchases by FELDA – deals which always seemed to benefit Najib’s cronies.
Now Rfizi has revealed that the fund was shockingly misleading in its financial reporting of these deals. Public financial statements are supposed to be audited ‘bibles’ of truth and rectitude and yet FELDA published untrue information.
According to the MP, FELDA’s latest financial statement asserts that the hotel is managed by Grand Plaza Kensington Ltd, but owned by FIC London Hotel (Pte) Ltd. Crucially, says the MP, the statement goes on to say that both of these companies are based in the UK and are owned by the Felda subsidiary, Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd.
This is not true, the MP has discovered. FIC London Hotel (Pte) Ltd is not based in the UK, since there is no mention of it on the UK Company Register. In fact, the company was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which is an opaque off-shore dominion that is regularly used by entities who do not want ownership details to be revealed.
So, first the FELDA management lied and then they hid the ownership of the over-priced hotels. Worse, the accountants who presumably signed off these statements clearly failed to check even these most basic and public factual errors.
The MP made this announcement at the start of the week and says he has so far received no response from FELDA. He has therefore come up with further information, this time from the BVI Company Register, which provides (at great expense and considerable inconvenience) three pieces of information about companies incorporated on the island: namely, when they were set up, who the agent is and if and when they cease to be active.
Rafizi has found out that FIC London Hotel (Pte) Ltd ceased to be active in BVI in May last year. The reason being that it was struck off for failing to pay its company fees. So what, he rightly asks, has become of the ownership of this multi-million ringgit ‘public’ asset?
The former Chairman of FELDA, Isa Samad, was picked up, questioned and then let go by the MACC (Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission) over matters to do with this and a number of other similar ‘investments’ last month. These were all related to the fund’s notable foreign property spree that began in 2012 (after billions had been made from a stock market floatation promoted by Finance Minister Najib). These include the Merdeka Palace Hotel in Kuching, which was previously owned by some of Chief Minister Johari’s closest associates and one of his sons and also the Grand Borneo Hotel in Sabah.
Najib’s own personal involvement in such dealings has been most evident in the forcing through of a massive purchase by FELDA of a controversial oil palm plantation in Indonesia, Eagle High Planations, at way above market price from a known business crony of his, Peter Sondakh.
After subsidiary Felda Global Ventures had pulled out of an original $700 million investment into the loss-making concern, following a wave of negative publicity, the new Chairman of FELDA, Najib’s political crony and cousin Shahrir Abdul Samad, went ahead with a half billion dollar purchase of 39% of the company earlier this year.
The result of this astonishing profligacy and mis-management is spelt out through the plummeting value of FELDA’s shares, which have dived to one fifth since the stock market launch in 2012, which released the enormous sum of money that has thus been squandered and apparently lost. This was how Shahrir Abdul Samad himself summed up the situation when he first took over the fund in May:
The point being that the value of the shares which FELDA settlers received in return for handing over their lands to the government controlled fund has adjusted from RM5.4 each at the time of the sale to a present RM1.5. Meanwhile, the RM4.3 billion raised from the world’s second biggest ever share sale has, according to the Chairman, disappeared.
Tip of The Iceberg?
FELDA’s own Chairman has said it all. The settlers were lured by that original ‘windfall’ of RM15,000 ringgit, in the same way a poor villager sells his vote for RM50. In return for shares, which are now relatively worthless, they handed over something far more valuable: control over their plantation land and the market capitalisation, now spent goodness knows where.
All this corruption in high places has unravelled since the original scandal broke over 1MDB at the start of 2015. A further enormous scandal has been associated with another publicly managed fund, namely Tabung Haji. The pilgramage fund was discovered to have bought out properties given to 1MDB for ludicrously over-valued amounts, apparently to help 1MDB’s managers cover up the loses caused by thefts from that fund.
At the time, when the scam was exposed, the Prime Minister/Finance Minister Najib, assured the pilgrims, who had devoutly saved money with Tabung Haji to afford their trips to Mecca, that Tabung Haji would be able to sell on the properties within a month for a large profit – they were not to worry, as there were three major buyers vying for the opportunity.
It is no surprise, surely, that the sale never took place and that now Tabung Haji has announced it will instead ‘develop’ the land it cannot sell.
Likewise, when the Governor of the Central Bank Negara alerted this pilgrimage fundthat it was investing in yet another dangerously loss-making crony project and advised that a financially aware person was needed on the Board (as opposed to the political cronies that Najib had so far appointed e.g. the bogus-degree holding Chairman Abdul Azeez of ‘Preston’ University) Najib instead placed none other than his pet Attorney General and former judge Apandi Ali – with no business brain at all.
What it all this tells Malaysians is that, unsurprisingly, the Prime Minister who presided over 1MDB has also presided over the extraordinary looting of both FELDA and Tabung Haji.
What Lies Beneath The Water?
So, what else in the way of public money could likewise have been looted and raided? The terrifying answer for Malaysians lies in a book published by a Malaysian academic just last month called ‘Minister of Finance Incorporated‘.
This factual examination of the extent of the powers of the one man, who holds the two key offices of state, through the Ministry of Finance and Prime Ministership, shows just how much of the country’s economy has fallen under the control of a single decision-maker, who if so-minded, could therefore drive the welfare of all Malaysians and their descendants into disaster virtually unchecked.
The problem (although it is carefully not described as such by author and researcher, Terence Gomez of the University of Malaya) is that Malaysia’s largely resource-based economy is predominantly under government ownership. Furthermore, the funds that manage the pensions and savings of the population, not just government workers, are also unusually managed by the government rather than independent businesses or trusts. Furthermore, these funds now control most of the private sector businesses on top.
It gets worse. Thanks to the growing centralisation of political power that has taken place in Malaysia, as a result of 60 years of one party rule, the control over these government managed companies and funds and private businesses has accumulated into the hands of just two major office-holders. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
In Malaysia the final step towards total centralisation of economic and political power came with the astonishing merger of these two offices into the hands of a single politician, who is also the President of UMNO which is the party that has inserted its senior members into all the leading decision-making posts in government and coporate posts throughout Malaysia.
So it is that Malaysia is a ‘democracy’ which is run like a old fashioned Soviet party-based economy.
Since the checks and balances have been eroded, thanks to 60 years of uncontested single party rule (a world record), it leaves the economy open to a frightening situation. If the man in charge is not to be trusted when it comes to money; if he has criminal tendencies, for example or feels he needs a lot of money to keep control through bribery of those party placemen, through whom he runs the country, or if he has a particularly greedy and wasteful family, then Malaysians have good reason to be very scared indeed.
The Extraordinary Power of MO1
Najib, through his inherited offices of state, controls the management of the key Government Investment Companies (GLICs) namely MoF Inc, Khazanah, PNB, EPF, KWAP, LTH, LTAT, FELDA, which in turn have invested in a substantial number of Malaysia’s most important private enterprises, giving him immense power over decision-making in the private sector as well.
Thirty five of these so-called GLCs (Government Linked Companies) feature in Malaysia’s top 100 companies on the Malaysian stock exchange, according to Professor Gomez. They account for nearly half of Malaysia’s entire market capitalisation of listed companies.
Huge and supposedly independent investment funds, such as the Employee Provident Fund, PNB and Khazanah are also ultimately subject to the Minister of Finance, owing to the legislation under which they have been structured – legislation brought in or altered by a self-interested political party, which has never given up its political power. For example, the Minister of Finance controls MoF Inc, which wholly owns Kazanah and holds a ‘Golden Share’ over the vast investment fund PNB.
The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) asserts its independence and yet the entire Board and its CEO are appointed by the Minister of Finance himself. So, little surprise that Najib felt able to promise Donald Trump last month that he would make sure the fund invested in the United States to ‘help make America great again’.
Likewise the pension fund KWAP and likewise Tabung Haji and likewise FELDA. Other major agencies also dominated by the Government, such as MARA, which reports to the Minister of Rural and Regional Development, are also ultimately controlled by Najib, in that he can hire or fire the minister concerned.
Malaysians have become used over the years to seeing these institutions relatively well run by reasonably diligent professionals. However, the increasingly centralised structure of Malaysia’s ruling UMNO party has created a dangerous weakness that many are only just beginning to wake up to. What if the man in charge goes ‘rogue’?
It happens, ask the world’s greatest democracy, America, which is now reining in their President, thanks to Congress, the Senate and independent Departments of State. You need institutional checks and balances to make sure that what the ‘man in charge’ says he will do is what he actually does.
Najib, back in 2011, announced he was going to open up Malaysia’s economy and divest the Government’s excessive involvement and control over even the private sector. At the same time he promised the liberalisation of civil society. It did not happen.
According to Professor Gomez, in terms of the economy the reverse has happened: the Government’s share of the KL Composite Index has increased from 43.7% to 47.1% – an extraordinary figure.
All Audited And In Safe Hands?
Malaysians have learnt about what Najib was willing to sanction with 1MDB, where money ended up in his own accounts. They have learnt how he has also sanctioned devastating losses at FELDA to mysterious destinations and plain cronies. They have also seen exposed a shocking raid on the pilgamage fund of Tabung Haji.
In all these cases, top firms of accountants were supposedly monitoring events. ‘Independent’ boards, the Auditor General and Bank of Malaysia were also supposedly making sure that nothing was untoward (all are appointed by Najib).
In 2015 and 2016 Najib declared that nothing could have possibly gone wrong at 1MDB because its accounts were passed by ‘top international auditors’. Yet in 2016 the fund’s then current auditor, Deloittes, resigned in the face of the finding of international investigators and declared its earlier accounts “unsafe”.
So, how safe is the rest of that edifice of Government-managed funds and companies, controlled ultimately by Najib – a man on the hunt for money, with thousands of party hangers-on to pay in order to keep his dominant position?
Do the public or even the hired accountants and placed board members know the truth about what Najib’s personally appointed administrators are up to? And how reliable are all those Financial Statements after all? The evidence so far is troubling.
Given this situation we think it is fair to ask, is 1MDB just the tip of the iceberg, with the FELDA and Tabung Haji scandals now also floating to the top – if so, what horrors lurk below?
Maybe there are still some Malaysians, who think that Najib’s malign and greedy influence has not strayed beyond these existing scandals. If so, we shall soon find out if they are right, because if the money has indeed disappeared from other funds in the manner of 1MDB then the dire consequences will be shortly felt by each and every citizen (apart from the handful who made off with it all).
As it is, our Petrol price is so cheap in Malaysia, here now the Petrol Stations owners Cheating the Public ! Well done