Arul Kanda to appear before PAC on December 1

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will restart its highly-anticipated probe into troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) by grilling the firm’s top executives at the end of this month, after a five-month delay.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the state-owned investment firm’s former CEO Datuk Shahrul Ibrahim Halmi has been summoned to appear before the bipartisan panel on November 25.

Shahrul served the company from March 2009 until March 2013 and is currently on 1MDB’s board of directors.

1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy is scheduled to appear before the committee on December 1. Letters were sent to the duo today instructing them to attend the proceedings.

The two executives were supposed to appear before PAC in August but this was derailed when four of the committee’s members, including former chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, were elevated to government in a Cabinet reshuffle late July.

As a result, all ongoing PAC proceedings, including its probe into 1MDB, were frozen despite protests from the opposition.

PAC had previously summoned Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director-general Datuk Seri Dr Rahmat Bivi Abdulla and Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who sits on the company’s advisory board.

The Finance Ministry representative was summoned as 1MDB is a wholly-owned vehicle of Ministry of Finance Incorporated while EPU coordinates the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and Bandar Malaysia developments to be included in the company.

Both agencies also play a role in monitoring the firm’s governance.

Criticism has been mounting over the Finance Ministry wholly-owned investment vehicle, established in 2009, which had to date racked up RM42 billion in debts. Scrutiny grew more intense following whistle-blower site Sarawak Report’s recent exposes, which piled pressure on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and prompted opposition politicians, former and current Umno leaders including long-serving former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and anti-graft bodies to demand a thorough investigation into the fund.

The auditor-general is currently looking through 1MDB’s books, with a report expected to be submitted to Parliament by year end. – November 5, 2015.

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