Monday 27 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 2): PKR-Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen today demanded that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak explain the RM2.3 million payment by Putrajaya to a private equity firm and a law firm in the US, over a joint venture involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) for a 50MW solar power project in Kedah.

Wong told pressmen today that declarations made by the private equity firm DuSable Capital Management LLC in relation to payments for the development of the solar power plant revealed that there is a joint venture between 1MDB and DuSable.

On Sept 26, 2013, DuSable filed to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to state that it would be the investment adviser to a private equity fund in which 1MDB would be a limited partner.

In another filing to the DoJ on April 23, 2014, DuSable clarified that 1MDB would not be an investor of DuSable, but that DuSable had engaged in a partnership with 1MDB to develop, finance and construct a 50MW solar power project in Malaysia.

"It has now come to my attention that in addition to the two Department of Justice (DoJ) disclosures of DuSable over its dealings with 1MDB, DuSable also disclosed on April 30, 2014 a Supplemental Statement. The Supplemental Statement disclosed that 1MDB is a partner in the solar power project in Malaysia.

"The Supplemental Statement also stated that DuSable had disbursed money on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, a sum of US$542,394.10 (RM2.3 million) relating to the solar power project. Payments were for salaries, consultants, lawyers, accountants and travel reimbursements," Wong told pressmen in Parliament lobby today.

The single largest recipient of the payments was to an American law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP totalling US$274,526.11 (RM1.178 million) for legal services regarding a solar project in Malaysia, said Wong.

"The substantial amount of legal fees paid suggests either an agreement has been concluded or that a lot of work was carried out to finalise an agreement," he noted.

However, Najib had denied in a brief written reply to Wong last week that 1MDB never entered into any joint venture with DuSable when asked to detail the tie-up between the two, despite DuSable's contrary declaration to the DoJ.

Wong said he would go to the US embassy here next week to seek explanations from embassy officers should Najib fail to explain the details of the matter.

"Someone has to explain to us [about this deal with DuSable] and the Prime Minister is at the best position to explain to us," he stressed.

1MDB's power unit Edra Global Energy Bhd signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy electricity from the proposed solar photovoltaic plant, via direct negotiations between the Energy Commission, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia in April 2014.

The PPA provides that 1MDB will design, construct, own, operate and maintain the solar power plant.

In April 2015, The Edge Financial Daily reported that Tenaga Nasional Bhd has taken up 20%-25% stake in the project after DuSable exits from the project.


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