New Malaysia Tines reported yesterday that Malaysia's attempts at recovering assets stolen from 1MDB has run into further delay as a result of a dispute among partners at the law firm put in charge of the exercise, Lee Hishamuddin AllanGledhiil.
It has also been reported that Tony Pua, the Political Secretary to the Minister for Finance Lim Guan Eng, has been overseeing the entire exercise, rather than the Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas.
The LeeHishamuddin problem raises further questions about Pua's handling of the asset recovery. His choice of PwC and KPMG is in itself plagued by conflicts of interest
In addition, PwC 's history in Malaysia suggests that it was always going to be the wrong choice.As reported previously on this blog:
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
That LeeHishamuddin had to be hired in addition to PwC (whose fees for services are not cheap) suggests that the 1MDB asset recovery exercise has in itself become a scandal of fees to various parties who have not done anything.
Adding to all this is the information (see NMT below) that foreign firms have been hired to assist in the recovery.Why this was required when PwC has been assigned the job is intriguing, to say the least.Readers are reminded the US DOJ has already done a considerable amount of work in tracing the cashflows, and recovering some of the assets.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 – According to industry sources who have asked not to be named, Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill, or LHAG had been awarded the job of recovering 1MDB money from various parties by the Attorney General, Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, who is being advised by the Political Secretary to the Minister For Finance Tony Pua.
After a series of delays work on the recovery began late last year led by Tony Pua who has been chairing working group meetings with the LHAG team,which was led by LHAG senior partner Datuk DP Naban. It is understood that at least one overseas law firm has been engaged to assist Pua, despite Pua appointing PwC to take charge of the 1MDB asset recovery.
NMT has sighted the LHAG Notice of Dissolution which could soon mean that all LHAG files, including the 1MDB files, will be under the custody of external administrators who will have to dispose of the files and other LHAG assets .Datuk Naban may no longer advise on the 1MDB matter, leaving Tony Pua and Tan Sri Tommy with yet another delay in the 1MDB matter.
The whole 1MDB recovery has been delayed since the change in government in May 2019. While the US DOJ had provided the Malaysian Government with all its very extensive work, and while Tan Sri Tommy was appointed AG for his extensive knowledge of banking and finance matters and asset recovery, Tan Sri Tommy inexplicably handed over the work to Tony Pua. NMT understands that this was done in part to ensure Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s cooperation in the matter.
Minister Lim and his then adviser , now political secretary Tony Pua appointed PwC to take charge of the recovery, but apart from some quite silly demands being made of Goldman Sachs, nothing else has been done. Lim has gone on record to say that Goldman Sachs need only pay USD7.5 Billion to Malaysia to make its 1MDB problems go away.
The Attorney General handing over his work to a political secretary is unprecedented, and the impact of the dissolution of LHAG under scandalous circumstances adds to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the recovery of money stole from 1MDB.