Tuesday, February 19, 2019

PwC and 1MDB: The Southern Bank takeover suggests PwC does not have the skills for this job;and has itself caught in (another) conflict of interest

Faiz is 1MDB exco chairman, part of PwC services to the company

Interesting to see that PwC has broken a cardinal rule -you cannot audit yourself-in the search for fees.The Edge reported:

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) said yesterday Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi’s appointment as its executive committee (exco) chairman forms part of services provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services Sdn Bhd (PwC) to 1MDB.

“Pursuant to the announcement made on the appointment of the exco members on June 25, 2018, the board of directors is pleased to clarify that Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi’s appointment as the chairman of the exco is part of the scope and services provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services Sdn Bhd to 1MDB.

“PwC is assisting the board and the exco in recovering 1MDB’s assets and in managing the company’s debt,” 1MDB said in a statement.

On June 25, 1MDB announced Mohammad Faiz’s appointment to the exco that was entrusted with managing the day-to-day running of the company.

Besides Mohammad Faiz, other members of the exco are Datin Rashidah Mohd Sies and Datuk Wan Mohd Fadzmi Wan Othman.

Unfortunately,  that is not all. Faiz is also believed to have advised Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd on its takeover of Southern Bank Bhd. He missed some gaping holes in Southern Bank's balance sheet ,which then became ,at least in part , too big to hide by 2000 when BCHB got (you guessed it) PwC to audit the audited accounts. The RM 160 Million overstatement of accounts was quite likely an understatement.

Compared to the 1MDB losses, the Southern Bank losses were all local and easily proven. Faiz and PwC could not uncover that loss;it is hard to see how they will unravel the 1MDB mess.



Analysts: Overstatement of SBB’s assets no impact on BCHB
By Gan Yen Kuan
553 words
4 June 2007
(c) 2007 The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd
Southern Bank Bhd’s (SBB) “inappropriate accounting treatment” that resulted in an overstatement of RM160 million in its net assets as at Dec 31, 2005 (FY05) will not have a significant impact on Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), said analysts.
MIMB Investment Bank Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew said the overstatement, representing 2.4% of the RM6.7 billion BCHB paid for SBB, would possibly be treated as goodwill, thus the only impact on BCHB’s book would be the increase in goodwill.
“It’s not something that is really significant. Accounting treatment issues are always contentious. It’s not as major as to the Transmile case,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.
Another analyst said BCHB would just need to restate the amended figure in its FY05 results report.
“It’ll be just standardising the financial reporting (of SBB) to follow BCHB’s standards including provision policy. It will not affect its earnings,” he added.
The Edge weekly reported on May 21, quoting sources, that BCHB hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to determine if SBB’s FY05 financial statement reflected a “true and fair disclosure” of its financial position then. Deloitte KassimChan audited SBB’s FY05 financial statement.
The issue was relevant in so far as it was not known to what extent BCHB had relied on the 2005 financial statements when pricing SBB.
Following the news report, BCHB told Bursa Malaysia last Friday that PwC’s review of SBB’s FY05 audited financial statements revealed there were indeed “inappropriate accounting treatments” of certain transactions.
It said these accounting treatments related to “inappropriately valuing certain derivative financial instruments entered into by SBB, not writing down in full the collateral value and wrongly writing back specific provisions made on certain foreclosed properties relating to non-performing loans aged seven years and above, and non-expensing of certain costs incurred.”
BCHB added that these accounting treatments had been corrected in its book as at June 30, 2006, and that no further amendments or corrections were required.
Asked what might have led to the “inappropriate accounting treatment”, Pong said the management might have practised “earnings management”.
“All companies are trying hard to show a smoother earnings growth. It’s a matter of interpretation (of the financial reporting standards). If this (earnings management) is wrong, then almost all companies are guilty,” he said.
BCHB had also said it would deliberate further on possible courses of action to enhance corporate governance and professional standards.
Commenting on these courses of action, Pong said that would likely mean internal control rather than legal action towards those accountable for the incident.
“I doubt so (legal actions). It will be more of ensuring that all staff adhere to accounting standards,” he said.
However, another analyst said directors were always held accountable for such fraud, and BCHB’s so-called courses of action may possibly mean bringing the case to civil court.
“Of course, (they will take legal action) if they want to. There can be arguments over what ‘inappropriate’ means. Is it just inappropriate according to their standards, or an utterly illegal practice?” he said.
Meanwhile, BCHB group chief executive Datuk Nazir Razak told The Edge Financial Daily that “the announcement is comprehensive enough”. He declined to elaborate.
The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd.
Document THEDGE0020071101e364000ko

PwC is Goldman Sachs' auditor; ;PwC appointed by the Malaysian Govt to examine Goldman Sachs 1MDB transactions

by Ganesh Sahathevan

From Goldman Sachs 2017 Annual Report:

We were appointed by the directors on August 10, 1982 to audit the financial statements for the period ended November 25, 1983 and subsequent financial periods. The period of total uninterrupted engagement is 35 years, covering the periods ended November 25, 1983 to December 31, 2017. 

Nick Morrison (Senior Statutory Auditor) for and on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Chartered Accountants and Statutory Auditors London March 29, 2018

Despite that history, Malaysia's new government and Minister for Finance announced last year:

Newly appointed auditor for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has completed its preliminary report and the Government plans to make the final report public, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
In a press conference at Parliament today, Lim said the preliminary report gathered that 1MDB did not comply with basic corporate governance or management principles.
“From what we gathered in PWC's preliminary report, basic good corporate governance or management principles were not complied with. We want to make this public — people have the right to know — but let us get it done properly first, it is a preliminary report,” he said.

The Minister's confidence in PwC's work is touching, but one must ask why this obvious, blatant conflict has not been made better known to the Malaysian public.

Also, it is no excuse to say that PwC is the only auditor in Malaysia untainted by 1MDB.There are other firms who can, and are better known  in the business of forensic audits and investigations.

Don't Ask Us! - KPMG Global's Astonishing Response on 1MDB

Don't Ask Us! - KPMG Global's Astonishing Response on 1MDB

1MDB is not anything to do with us - Global Chief of KPMG, John Ve
1MDB is not anything to do with us – Global Chief of KPMG, John Veihmeyer
For weeks the mantra of the chairman of 1MDB’s governing Advisory Board (Malaysia’s Prime Minister) has been that the management of the fund has been ‘cleared’, because the accounts were ‘forensically’ audited by international accountancy firms of global standing.
The firms who have given 1MDB clean bills of health have been the Malaysia branches of the accountancy giants Deloitte and KPMG.
Malaysia's top team at KPMG - no accountability to HQ?
Malaysia’s top team at KPMG – no accountability to HQ?
However, last week Sarawak Report demonstrated evidence pointing to a series of sharp practices on the part of KPMG during the audit process for the year ending March 2010.
These enabled 1MDB to conceal the loss of USD$700 million, which was the sum siphoned out of its joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi.
Following this expose, the Sydney-based Malaysian investigative financial journalist, Ganesh Sahathevan, directly challenged the Global Chairman of the company, John Veihmeyer, to give his response to the allegations.
Sahathevan asked whether KPMG Global had been aware of any of the transactions relating to 1MDB outlined in the expose?  He added that:
“much of what has been reported was in the public domain since at least 2014, and hence there is also the question of why the Global Board took no action despite that fact?”
KPMG's international image - a massive global firm
KPMG’s international image – a massive global firm
The rapid response Sahathevan received from KPMG merits reading in full, because it puts paid to any assumptions that a local branch of this ‘global network’ of accountancy firms can be relied upon to maintain any sort of acceptable standard laid down by a central authority.
The General Counsel (top lawyer) for Mr Veihmeyer states that the corporate headquarters has no involvement in the matter, because the KPMG network represents nothing more than a ‘Swiss Cooperative’ of happy Helvetic brand sharers.
In short, he explains, no one at HQ is responsible for what their fellow franchise holders get up to. They are just there to help and advise when required.
Dear Mr Sahathevan
I refer to your email below addressed to Mr John Veihmeyer, Global Chairman, KPMG International Cooperative (KPMG International).
I am the General Counsel of KPMG International and am responding on behalf of Mr Veihmeyer.
KPMG International is a Swiss Cooperative. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to bind or obligate any member firm.
KPMG International does not have any relationship with, or connection to, 1MDB”.
Yours faithfully
Tom Wethered
Malaysians and others, who had assumed that accreditation by KPMG represented some form of guarantee of high standards; quality control; centralised monitoring and disciplinary process to ensure high standards of accountancy practice must therefore stand disappointed.
According to KPMG’s top legal eagle, theirs is a form of franchise that has its cake and eats it at the same time.
Name bearers get to carry the brand, but without any form of accountability whatsoever:
“nor does KPMG International have any such authority to bind or obligate any member firm” [Tom Wethered]

Franchise without accountability?

If a Malaysian were to find dog meat in his McDonald’s burger in KL, he would expect to receive some response from the company HQ from under its golden arches in California – and doubtless he would.
By contrast, if KPMG Malaysia assists in the cover-up of a billion dollar heist of public money, it turns out that their global HQ in Amsterdam merely refers you to the cantons of Switzerland and their company’s new corporate structure, which is accountability free.

Having their cake and eating it 

Mr Wethered’s response that “KPMG International does not have any relationship with, or connection to, 1MDB”  represents a stark contrast, however, with the firm’s own publicity material.
The KPMG website and numerous articles make reference instead to the guarantee of quality that their brand lends to its affiliates across the world.
KPMG’s own website, under the banner line “Acting With Integrity”, declares:
“KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We have more than 155,000 outstanding professionals working together to deliver value in 155 countries worldwide.”
On the other hand, scrutiny of this KPMG website soon makes plain that behind the fine words and sentiments there is indeed what appears to be a significant dearth of actual governance in this corporate structure:


We are constantly striving to uphold the highest professional standards, provide sound advice and rigorously maintain our independence….
The KPMG Global website concedes that its Head Officers provide policies, even regulations. But, there is no mention of enforcement.
The Global Board is the principal governance and oversight body. The key responsibilities of the Board include approving long-term strategy, protecting and enhancing the KPMG brand, and approving policies and regulations
There is no single line of accountability within the organisation.


Internationally, the affairs of KPMG are the responsibility of several bodies.

Aspirations, but can they be enforced?
Aspirations, but can they be enforced?
The controls that would lead the third party readers of its audit reports to feel comforted that quality control is enforced, appear to be missing, as indicated by the letter sent by KMPG’s top counsel.
Although there is a deluge of information about the values and quality that this network of affiliated firms is “striving to achieve”, there seems to be a lack of clear accountability within the structure of the organisation.
Without accountability and enforcement structures the high values and claims of integrity that pack out KPMG’s corporate messaging are surely effectively meaningless?
What better example than this latest abdication of responsibility over the scandal of 1MDB?

KPMG’s Positive PR

The legal counsel of KPMG seems therefore to be entirely correct in his statement that the global headquarters can wash its hands entirely of this little fracas over in Malaysia.
Star Interview with former Global Head Michael Andrew presented a very different state of affairs.
Star Interview with former Global Head Michael Andrew presented a very different state of affairs.
Yet, as Mr Sahathevan and others suggest, this is not the public face of the company.
Certainly, the ‘Swiss Cooperative’s’ corporate PR does not accurately represent this state of affairs and basic lack of governance.
Take for example the recent ‘Up Close And Personal’ article by Malaysia’s Star Newspaper about the role of the recently retired Global Chairman of KPMG.
In his interview Mr Andrew told the Star that clients in KL had the right to expect the same level of service as in Europe.
He also said that the company upheld its “duty to the broader community”:
KPMG’s brand, Andrew says, is all about being independent and objective because the firm and its employees has a public interest of responsibility to the broader community.
“We have to ensure that we uphold the governance standards in every country for our multi-national clients. They expect the same standards in Kuala Lumpur as they do in Johannesburg, Frankfurt or New York,” he says.
He adds that corporate governance defines the KPMG brand. “If we don’t meet the governance standards, then people won’t have confidence in our business. Integrity is at the heart of everything we do.
“This is ensuring that we understand that our duty is to the broader community than just to any particular client or particular transaction. Because if we do some work, which turns out to be incorrect, it’ll affect our global brand,” he says.
Every three months, KPMG employees are required to sign a declaration to maintain their independence around their audit clients. [The Star Online 10th Aug 2013]
However, despite that commitment to the broader community, in the case of 1MDB the public was never informed about the siphoning of $700 million in public funds out of the fund, thanks to KPMG Malaysia’s accountancy practices.
And now it turns out that KPMG Global regards itself as having no responsibility at all in the matter.
Were it to be more widely recognised that KPMG Global exerts so little quality control over its branches, the reputation on which this ‘cooperative’ relies might very well lose a lot of its lustre.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Now would be a good time for Yang Ariff Daryl Goon to explain his endorsement of the Malaysian Applied Law LLM

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Yang Ariff Goon has yet to provide answers.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

YA Daryl Goon , the Malaysian Applied Law LLM ,and YAA Richard Malanjum

by Ganesh Sahathevan


This writer has spent much time this week, and the last praying that the newly appointed Yang Ariff Daryl Goon might condescend to explain why he has has endorsed something called the Master of Laws (Applied Law) in Malaysian Legal Practice.

Goon has been asked to explain given the fact that this LLM (and indeed no others) have been approved by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board..

The Malaysian Bar Council seems to have played some part in promoting the course (see below) but its President and Secretary have refused numerous requests  for information about what

approvals if any the Malaysian Bar Council had obtained to promote the course in Malaysia.

The course website , hosted by the private college in Australia that manages the course (with a faculty of one person) shows prominently the Bar Council's logo. YA Daryl Goon is listed among its advisers. 

The private college also claims that it produced in 1985-86 the first group of "elite" law graduates from MARA who were admitted to practice in Malaysia. This does come as a bit of surprise to this writer and others like him who know and know of Malaysian lawyers who graduated from MARA in the 1970s. In the latter category (for I do not know him personally) is the current Chief Justice , YAA Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, who graduated in 1973.
One hopes that the newly minted YA will at least  have an explanation for his YAA. 


The questions (see below) remain despite this promotion by the Bar Council Malaysia:

Circular No 147/2017
Dated 11 July 2017n 
To Members of the Malaysian Bar
Providing Assistance to The College of Law, Australia | Development of Localised Master
of Laws Programme
The Bar Council Malaysia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The College of
Law, Australia and New Zealand in order to create further legal education and training platforms
for the benefit of Members of the Bar.
In this regard, The College of Law is interested to localise the content of its existing Australian
Master of Laws (“LLM”) in Applied Law programme for Malaysia, and is interested in working
with Members of the Bar who have relevant legal research and writing, and practical legal
experience. This is to be carried out on a project basis, and the Members will be remunerated.
The first six subjects in this new LLM programme are near completion and will be offered in
September 2017 as part of a new LLM (Applied Law) with a major in Malaysian Legal Practice.
The next 11 LLM subjects that The College of Law is interested in localising are listed below:
Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice;
Banking and Finance;
Family Law Practice;
Intellectual Property Practice;
Islamic Banking and Finance;
Mergers and Acquisitions Practice;
(10) Negotiation; and
(11) Wills, Estates and Trusts.
If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please send your expression of interest together
with your detailed resume and any queries, directly to:
Peter Tritt
Director | Asia-Pacific
The College of Law Australia and New Zealand
Level 23, Nu Tower 2
Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Mobile: +6013 305 7660
Thank you.
Roger Chan Weng Keng
Malaysian Bar

Saturday, February 2, 2019

NZ's Jacinta Ardern can show real kindness by helping Malaysia recover stolen 1MDB money laundered via New Zealand

by Ganesh Sahathevan

This was NZ PM Jacinta Ardern at the World Economic Forum ,Davos

“The Wellbeing Budget will broaden the Budget’s focus beyond
 economic and fiscal policy by using the Treasury’s Living Standards 
Framework to inform the Government’s investment priorities and 
funding decisions. The Government will measure and report against a broader 
set of indicators to show a more rounded measure of success, as a country 
and as a Government.”
(see Budget 2019: Focus on wellbeing)

Meanwhile, from Sarawak Report:

Australia And New Zealand Slide From Their Responsibilities Over Mass Corruption In Malaysia

And these issues remain unresolved,despite being on the public record for at least two years:

JAN 27 2017


by Ganesh Sahathevan

It has been previously reported on this blog that New Zealand lawyers,banks may be laundering money stolen from Malaysia's 1MDB but the NZ Government chooses to do nothing despite the highly publicized facts.

Now it can be shown that the Kiwi judge who heard the Low family's application to replace their trustees, and reclaim assets the US Department Of Justice says were acquired with funds stolen from 1MDB, has himself a history that demanded NZ Government intervention to ensure New Zealand's international AML/CTF obligations were not breached.

Mr Justice Christopher (Kit) Holden Toogood has a history that even Malaysia's judges would find embarrassing.


TOOGOOD, Christopher (Kit) Holden


High Court Justice Kit Toogood

Professional Data:

2010 Judge Survey Score (1-10): 7.1   Ranking (out of 63):  52ndJustice.Kit.Toogood

Postion & Titles:Queen’s Counsel
Member Arbitrators’ & Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand
Member Serious Fraud Office Prosecutors Panel
Arbitrator, Court of Arbitration for Sport
Chairman – Auckland Theatre Company
Judge of:High Court, Auckland, since March 2011Auckland
Specializations and Professional Interests:Commercial and civil litigation; employment and industrial law advice and dispute resolution; sports law; arbitration and mediation; protecting his mates and padding his pockets.
Professional Comments:(Supplied by the Judge): Justice Kit Toogood QC has 38 years litigation experience. He is a former Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal. Kit Toogood QC is a provider of strategic advice to major corporations and government departments on employment issues, including contract negotiation; restructuring; superannuation and benefits; termination of employment; and legislative compliance. He has accepted numerous appointments as arbitrator and mediator in sports-related, employment and other civil disputes, and is frequently called upon by commercial and not-for-profit organisations to provide advice on governance issues and compliance programmes.
(Law Society info): Beginning in the late 1980’s, Kit Toogood developed a propensity for legal faux pas’s which often put him on the wrong side of the law.  He acted in a conflict of interest, representing a Waitomo Hotel employee grievance as well as the Tourist Hotel Corporation defence, but the Law Society gave him a pass on that one.  He then sent a letter to MP Winston Peters which threatened the Member over what he might say in Parliament; an act that brought Toogood up on a contempt of Parliament charge before the Privileges Committee.  Contempt of Parliament is the most serious offence in a democracy.  Committee Member Bill Birch told the New Zealand Herald that Kit Toogood “was largely saved by his counsel” and “he escaped by the skin of his teeth”.
Christopher ‘Kit’ Toogood’s laziness then got him in trouble with clients, once resulting in Telecom dropping him as counsel after he missed important deadlines which invoked costs awards.  In one employment mediation in the 1990’s, Mediator Caffrey restrained Toogood from physically assaulting barrister Tony Ellis.
(Kiwisfirst): Justice Kit Toogood fancies the finer things in life to a flaw.  Toogood sought appointment almost entirely for the prestige of the position and in order to qualify for a judicial pension in a few years when he reaches mandatory court retirement age, then retire and command higher compensation as a (former High Court Judge) arbitrator.   This is not a knock of Toogood, but rather symptomatic of how judicial appointments are made in New Zealand.
Since his appointment Justice Toogood has demonstrated a lackadaisical approach to his judicial duties, clearly finding the rudimentary tasks of judging – such as reading the case files and writing a coherent judgment in cases he is disinterested in – boring and unnecessary.   This proclivity frequently spells disaster for those who have the misfortune of expecting justice before him.  Too often Justice Kit Toogood “wings it” from the bench.  He can take many months to issue rulings and this flaw has caused angst among many who appear before him. Paradoxically, he has been known to make oral rulings before hearing submissions or reading the relevant documents.  Combine this with Toogood J’s propensity for “creative writing” and one can get the impression his judgment relates to an entirely different case on occasion.  It has been said his novel interpretation of law and facts fits Kit Toogood’s physical resemblance to Humpty Dumpty.
Justice Toogood has shown himself to be a law onto himself.  In a 2012 judicial review of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner CIV2012-404-646 [2012] NZHC 1481, Toogood J summarily dismissed the judicial review on application of the Commissioner despite a defence which disputed the pleaded facts, stating the Commissioner’s role of protecting judicial independence was paramount to a fair process, and this included refusing to conduct the mandatory examination of complaints of judicial misconduct required by section 15 of his governing statute (Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Panel Act 2004).
In CIV2005-404-1808 [2013] NZHC 301, Toogood J ordered that his judgment could not be subject to a recall application, directing the Registrar not to accept any application which might be attempted, thereby negating the long-established authority Horowhenua County v Nash (No 2) [1968] NZLR 632 (NZSC).
In a February 2013 rape trial, Justice Toogood allowed the Crown to present a past rape conviction of the accused to the jury, calling it relevant “propensity evidence” – an action which brought praise from the Sensible Sentencing Trust and public concern from the New Zealand Law Society.
In December 2014, 13 months after the trial concluded, Toogood J issued his reasons for refusing application to disqualify himself on grounds he claimed in a public judgment four months earlier that the plaintiff had defamed him – Toogood asserting as his reasons that the public would agree with his finding he had been defamed ([2014] NZHC 3175).
In the 2014 equity case Zhang v Zhai ([2014] NZHC 1026) Toogood required the defendants first prove their defence to an application for specific performance of an 11-year old contract for purchase of an Auckland home where the plaintiff admitted he never tendered the purchase price per the 2003 contract.  In his reserved ruling Toogood determined the plaintiff’s contract breach was not a breach because such a tender would have been “futile” despite no evidence or pleadings relying upon this excuse.
In July 2016, the New Zealand Herald and New Zealand Justice Forum exposed that Justice Toogood was presiding over an appeal by Affco against an Employment Court ruling that rights of seasonal meatworkers were preserved in the off-season, a decision that overturned a precedent-setting case from 1992 that Toogood was counsel for.
Toogood J has wasted no time and never hesitated in protecting “those who got him there” since his appointment to judge, no doubt setting the stage for “repeat business” upon hanging out his arbitration shingle after retirement. Sadly, Toogood J’s eagerness for his retirement is exceeded only by those who appear before him.
Background / Education:Hails from Bankside Chambers in Auckland.  Before that, Justice Toogood was a partner with Kensington Swan, from 1985 to 1990.Justice Toogood graduated from Victoria University of Wellington in 1972 and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor the following year.  After 18 years as a litigation lawyer, he joined the independent bar in 1990 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1999.
Judge Toogood’s full CV available here.
Degrees:LLB Victoria University, 1972
Admitted to the Bar:1973
Company Involvements:AUCKLAND THEATRE COMPANY LIMITED (545448) – Director Appointed 12 Feb 2003
IT’S IN THE BAG LIMITED (2277952) – Director  Appointed 14 Jul 2009
Closely tied to the Business Avisory Group Limited, an accountancy advisory partnership in Auckland

Personal Data

New Zealand
Interesting Relationships and Coincidences:Justice Toogood’s personal interests include Sport, performing arts, fine arts, music, wine & food
Miscellaneous:Lives in Remuera, Auckland.  Son of 1980’s ‘It’s in the Bag’ game show host Selwyn Toogood.