“Up to January 2015, the total amount of debts by 1MDB with local banks is RM5.037bil,” Najib said in a brief written reply to Pandan MP Mohd Rafizi Ramli yesterday.
Rafizi had asked Najib to state each loan undertaken by 1MDB with local banks.
He had also asked the Prime Minister to state the latest audit findings by Bank Negara for each of the loans.
The total asset size of the banking system is about RM1.3 trillion currently.
Separately, CIMB GROUP HOLDINGS BHD said it had been appointed by the Finance Ministry (MoF) – 1MDB’s sole shareholder – to act as adviser for the potential sale of Edra Global Energy Bhd to strategic investors.
“CIMB’s role will include identifying potential buyers and running a competitive process for Edra to derive an optimal outcome for MoF. This appointment does not extend to any other areas relating to the 1MDB Group,” the bank said in a statement yesterday.
On Wednesday, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, in his winding-up speech in Parliament, said the Government had formed a special task force to look into 1MDB’s performance so far, as well as the debts borne by the firm.
He said the Government had asked CIMB to be a third party to assist the evaluation of 1MDB’s proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its power assets, Edra.
The task force would carry out an evaluation to look at 1MDB’s debts, which totalled RM42bil as at March 31, 2014. These debts were accumulated following several acquisitions of power plants in 2012.
Besides Husni, the task force would include Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa as well as Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah as panellists.
This is the second known task force on 1MDB, after an initial one comprising officials from the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police.
Husni reiterated his previous view that 1MDB’s main issue was its cash flow, adding that the entity’s financial woes would end once the IPO for Edra took off, expected in the second quarter of this year.
On the recent settlement of a RM2bil debt tied to 1MDB’s RM8.5bil acquisition of Powertek Energy Sdn Bhd from T. Ananda Krishnan’s Tanjong Plc in 2012, Husni disclosed that the money was from a loan arranged by Tanjong with some “private investors” and not from Tanjong or the tycoon as speculated earlier.
According to Husni, Tanjong had arranged for private investors to fund the RM2bil to be paid to 1MDB in five months and the loan to be settled over 15 months for the principal amount, and the interest over six months without exchange risk.
The speculation about Ananda and Tanjong came about in February when 1MDB settled RM2bil after several delays. 1MDB, which is experiencing cash-flow problems, did not state where the money came from at that point, raising speculation that Ananda and Tanjong could have stepped in.
There was also speculation that 1MDB had used a portion of its funds in Cayman Islands to settle the RM2bil loan to four local financial institutions.
This came about following the finance ministry’s written reply on March 14 which stated that 1MDB had withdrawn its US$2.318bil offshore savings in the Cayman Islands in two tranches, and that the first tranche of US$1.215bil had been used to pay back “loan interest, working capital and other scheduled commitments”.
The second tranche of US$1.103bil was still held in foreign currency at BSI Bank Ltd Singapore and this would be used to repay loans in foreign currency that are due this year.