Monday, September 05, 2016

Should the Auditor General be removed because of a 'poor' audit on 1MDB??

Whys is the Auditor General important? Well, he is the one who checks and make sure that the government is doing things properly - not misappropriating funds, not 'wasting' our money. And to ensure the independence of the Auditor General - it is not easy to remove the Auditor General, and his salary is secure. PM Najib cannot simply get rid of the Auditor General. To remove an Auditor General, is as difficult as removing a judge.

Now, the Auditor General reports back not to the Prime Minister or the Cabinet but to the people - i.e. the Parliament. Hence, all of us can see the reports - but that is why it is strange that the 1MDB Auditor General's report is hidden - an 'official secret"? Very very strange, in my opinion.

Now the PAC(Public Accounts Committee) is a committee of the Parliament - so it is odd why the report is kept secret from even Parliament but only made available to members of the PAC. Well, with the 1MDB, a lot of things are happening in a way it should not be happening, in my opinion.

I wonder, why keep the Auditor General's report on 1MDB secret?

One possibility was that it was done to protect the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Cabinet and maybe even 1MDB and some others...

The other possibility maybe was to hide the 'incompetence' of the Auditor General -Did the Malaysian Auditor General do a 'bad job', and did not realize that money has been wrongly taken out of 1MDB? ...and the US investigators found out, and commence legal action claiming, amongst others,  that USD3.5 million was 'misappropriated'...? Now, 1MDB was being audited by the Auditor General since 2012...and did the Auditor General not see these 'hanky panky' and/or misappropriation...? Why did the Auditor General ask the Prime Minister for permission to stamp the 1MDB report/s secret?

Ambrin added he was given the authority by the prime minister in 2012 to stamp the report as secret.

The Federal Constitution in Article 105, 106 and 107 talks about the appointment, duties and responsibilities of the Auditor General. In Article 107 - it is clear that a mandatory obligation exists that requires Auditor General's reports to be brought to the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives of Parliament)...

 105  Auditor General. (1) There shall be an Auditor General, who shall be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister and after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.
(2) A person who has held the office of Auditor General shall be eligible for re-appointment but shall not be eligible for any other appointment in the service of the Federation or for any appointment in the service of a State.
(3) The Auditor General may at any time resign his office but shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.
(4) Parliament shall by law provide for the remuneration of the Auditor General, and the remuneration so provided shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
(5) The remuneration and other terms of office (including pension rights) of the Auditor General shall not be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment.
(6) Subject to the provisions of this Article, the terms and conditions of service of the Auditor General shall be determined by federal law and, subject to the provisions of federal law, by the Yang di- Pertuan Agong.

106  Powers and duties of Auditor General.

(1) The accounts of the Federation and of the States shall be audited and reported on by the Auditor General.
(2) The Auditor General shall perform such other duties and exercise such powers in relation to the accounts of the Federation and of the States and to the accounts of other public authorities and of those bodies which are specified by order made by the Yang di- Pertuan Agong, as may be provided by federal law.
107  Reports of Auditor General.

(1) The Auditor General shall submit his reports to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who shall cause them to be laid before the House of Representatives.
(2) A copy of any such report relating to the accounts of a State, or to the accounts of any public authority exercising powers conferred by State law, shall be submitted to the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of that State, who shall cause it to be laid before the Legislative Assembly.


A-G explains why 1MDB report is under OSA

Ho Kit Yen
 | July 25, 2016 
He says the National Audit Department (NAD) expected the final report to be leaked to the public and took the precaution to classify it as an official secret.
ambrin-buang-rafiziKUALA LUMPUR: Auditor-General (A-G) Ambrin Buang told the Sessions Court on Monday that he took steps to classify the 1MDB final audit report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) because there was a leakage in the interim report last year.

“My department, the National Audit Department (NAD), expected the final report to be also leaked to the public.

“Based on this, we sought advice. We were advised to classify it so that the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) can conduct its proceedings without interference. It would also protect the integrity of the NAD,” he told Deputy Public Prosecutor Abazafree Abbas.

He was testifying as the fifth prosecution witness in the trial of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, who is facing two charges of allegedly possessing and leaking classified documents.

He was charged under Sections 8(1)(c) and 8(1)(e)(iii) of the OSA for having in his possession and exposing page 98 of the 1MDB audit report at a press conference.

He was said to have committed the act at the Parliament building between March 24 and 28 in the late afternoon.

If convicted, he will face a jail term of up to seven years.

Ambrin added he was given the authority by the prime minister in 2012 to stamp the report as secret.

“I classified the report under OSA in January before the final report was debated,” he said.

When quizzed by Abazafree on the current status of the 1MDB report, whether it was still a classified document, Ambrin confirmed it was still under the OSA.

Abazafree: What’s the reason (to still be under OSA)?

Ambrin: There’s no need to de-classify. PAC decided the 1MDB report does not need to be included in the PAC report. I respect the decision.

During cross examination by Rafizi’s lawyer, Gobind Singh, Ambrin told the court that 1MDB is one of the government-owned companies gazetted to be audited by his office.

“The audit on 1MDB is a special audit.

“We audited because it was a request from certain bodies like the Cabinet and PAC. The report that we prepared was presented straight to PAC.”

He added it was up to PAC if they want to produce it before the lower house (Parliament).

Gobind asked Ambrin if his decision not to declassify was “against the law”.

The question was objected to by Abazafree, who said it was not within Ambrin’s capacity as a witness to answer it.

Despite the objection, Sessions Court Judge Zulqarnian Hassan allowed Gobind to proceed with the question.

Gobind: Tan Sri had mentioned earlier that you respect PAC’s decision to place the 1MDB report under OSA. Was your decision against Article 107(1) of the Federal Constitution? It states the A-G’s reports should be submitted before the Agong and presented before Parliament.

Ambrin: I am not well-versed (with the law), whether my decision to respect the PAC decision was against the Constitution.

The A-G also confirmed the documents which Rafizi produced at the press conference were from his report.
Gobind asked him if the contents in the report were a basis for criminal charges.

“I refrain from answering that,” Ambrin answered.

The hearing continues on Tuesday before judge Zulqarnian.- FMT News, 25/7/2016

PKR deputy chief Azmin Ali seeks to declassify Malaysia Auditor-General's report on 1MDB as official secret

The Selangor Mentri Besar is applying for leave from the High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) to initiate judicial review proceedings.

Speaking to reporters here after the filing of his court papers at the High Court registry, Mr Azmin, accompanied by his co-counsel R.Sivarasa, said he filed his application as Gombak MP.

Mr Azmin, whose lead counsel Tommy Thomas is now abroad, said it is their stand that "once you audit, the purpose is to disclose if there are any abuse of any financial part of the company."

In his application for leave, he named Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak, Auditor-General Ambrin Buang and the government as respondents.

Mr Azmin, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat's deputy president, is applying for a declaration that Datuk Seri Najib acted in conflict of interest in issuing a certificate under Section 2B of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 to Ambrin directing him to classify the report as an "official secret".

He is asking for a declaration that the classification by Ambrin of the 1MDB report as an official secret under the OSA was unlawful and ultra vires the Federal Constitution, the OSA and the Audit Act 1957.

Mr Azmin also wants to get an order from the court compelling the respondents, officers or agents to declassify the 1MDB report pursuant to Section 2C of the OSA and to release it to the public.

Mr Azmin said he did not seek costs in respect of these proceedings being a matter of public interest.

In his statement, Mr Azmin said the 1MDB report was posted online by the Sarawak Report between July 6 and July 30, thereby destroying the basis for any continued confidentiality.

In his affidavit in support, Mr Azmin said the classification of the report which was done pursuant to Section 2B of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), is unprecedented.

In a test case filed on Aug 5, businessman Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, 50, applied to declassify the final audit report on 1MDB. - Straits Times, 16/8/2016

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