Tony Pua: I have no reason to resign from PAC because I’m a witness, not a suspect
Tony Pua told 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) today (11 September) that he was a witness in a police investigation on an alleged attempt to topple the government, after the state investment firm told the DAP lawmaker to quit the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pending the probe.
Pua, who is Petaling Jaya Utara MP, also questioned how a conflict of interest could occur even if he were to be investigated under Section 124B of the Penal Code for committing activities “detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, amid investigations on 1MDB that is facing a debt burden of RM42 billion.
“I've been specifically informed by the police that I am being questioned only as a witness to their investigations,” Pua said in a statement.
“Is 1MDB saying that I should quit my place in the PAC just because I'm assisting investigations as a witness?” the DAP publicity chief added.
In its statement yesterday (10 September), 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has urged Tony Pua to "come clean" on allegations that he had introduced Sarawak Report's Clare Rewcastle-Brown to The Edge Media Group owners
“He should step down from PAC, while he proves his innocence to the various allegations made against him now that he is under police investigation,” 1Malaysia Development Berhad said in a statement today.
Expressing disappointment over the recent media reports and admissions by the PAC member, the statement expressed 1MDB’s hope that Pua would “come clean” with his answers to the police.
“We note his admission that he introduced discredited journalist Clare Rewcaslte-Brown to Datuk Tong Kooi Ong and Ho Kay Tat of the Edge Media Group, his non-denial over knowledge that Rewcastle-Brown was dealing with stolen goods and this is disappointing.”
1MDB went on to say that Tony Pua should "practice what he preaches" by stepping down from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) since he is being investigated
"1MDB has consistently maintained that the appropriate forum to share information is to the lawful authorities investigating 1MDB, including the PAC."
"It would appear that YB Tony Pua, notwithstanding his role in the PAC, wants to be judge, jury and executioner for 1MDB," 1MDB said in a statement on Thursday."
"1MDB is disappointed to hear of the alleged actions by YB Tony Pua."
"Whilst we have had differences of opinion with him, we respected his tenacity and focus. Now that YB Tony Pua is under investigation by the police, we urge YB Tony Pua to practise what he preaches to others and step down from the PAC, while he proves his innocence on the various allegations made against him," 1MDB said.
9 SEPT: Nurul Izzah is going to sue New Straits Times (NST) and Berita Harian (BH) for publishing ‘false news’
“I have accordingly instructed my solicitors to commence legal proceedings against the NST and Berita Harian.”
She described the reports as yet another desperate attempt by the Barisan Nasional (BN)-controlled media to deflect attention from the main issue of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal implicating Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The real question was not about Justo’s so called stolen documents, she added.
“It’s about what those documents, together with reports by Wall Street Journal, Sarawak Report and The Edge, say about the grand corruption, money laundering, embezzlement and electoral bribery allegations surrounding 1MDB.”
But wait, what actually happened? Yesterday, 8 September, Malaysians woke up to the news that PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar was keen on buying stolen data on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) from Xavier Andre Justo, a former PetroSaudi employee who was convicted
In an exclusive by the New Straits Times, which also based its reports on investigation details into Justo’s case, the Lembah Pantai lawmaker was, however, not considered as the choice potential buyer.
When Nurul Izzah allegedly offered to pay him with contracts that would come in if the Opposition succeeded in becoming the government, the Swiss national turned it down, according to a confession by Justo.
Justo, the English daily reported, also claimed that Sarawak Report editor Clare-Rewcastle Brown was acting as his broker.
According to Justo's written confession, he declined Nurul Izzah's offer of USD2 million (RM8.7 million) that will come in future government contracts
“Around September 2014, Clare contacted me and invited me in (sic) Bangkok. She said the daughter of (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim was interested in buying the data."
“I declined as Nurul wanted to pay US$2 million in future government contracts when they come into power, instead of cash. I declined the offer as I saw no purpose for it.”
Nurul Izzah has responded in her statement that she "categorically deny" that she promised government contracts to Justo in exchange for stolen information on 1MDB
"For the record, I categorically deny I offered US$2 million (RM8.7 million) to Justo in future government contracts when the opposition comes into power. I have never met him, " Nurul Izzah said.
"NST and Berita Harian have front-paged this complete lie in a sensational manner, and without any regard as to whether there is any truth in the allegations."
Nurul Izzah's name wasn't the only one that caught the masses' attention in the exclusive report by NST. It also reported that Justo's confession to the Thai authorities on 26 June stated that Rewcastle-Brown tried a few buyers, including the entourage of Anwar Ibrahim, but wasn’t successful.
He said Rewcastle-Brown, who had told him that he would make a few million from this, then contacted him in February to say that she, together with Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, had arranged the sale of the stolen data to The Edge media group owner, Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, and that a meeting would take place soon.
Pua’s name cropped up several times in Justo’s written confession and transcript of the three-month long WhatsApp conversations involving Rewcastle-Brown, Justo, Tong and Ho Kay Tat, who had allegedly set up the thread.
NST went on to report that Justo claimed in his confession that Rewcastle-Brown had declined payment from him for being the broker, saying toppling the Prime Minister “would be payment enough”
According to Justo, Rewcastle-Brown had allegedly proposed for him to open a newsdesk for the Southeast Asia region for which she would pay him US$350,000 followed by another US$1.25 million at a later date.
“I am aware and fully acknowledged that this would constitute money laundering. However, I have not received any money,” said Justo.
Justo had also allegedly confessed that Rewcastle-Brown had asked for her lawyer in the United Kingdom to make arrangements in line with that purpose and that he was arrested while waiting for the payment to go through.
Whether Rewcastle-Brown eventually received the money, was out of Justo’s knowledge.
Tony Pua has denied being part of the transaction or a conspiracy to topple Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak
“I was not involved in any such transaction,” Pua said when contacted.
However, Pua said he only introduced The Edge to Rewcastle-Brown and was not privy to anything else.
Asked if he was involved in any conspiracy or had prior knowledge of the information leaked, he said: "Nope and nope."
The Edge Media Group has responded to the news report, saying that they are not involved in any political conspiracy:
Previously, former Sarawak Tribune journalist Lester Melanyi made videos alleging that Sarawak Report forged 1MDB documents to topple PM Najib Razak: