May 22, 2018 / 9:44 AM / in a month

UPDATE 1-Najib's government deceived parliament over Malaysia's finances - minister

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s previous government deceived the public and parliament over the country’s financial situation and state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the new government’s finance minister said on Tuesday.

The previous government led by Najib Razak has been bailing out debt-burdened 1MDB since April 2017, paying a total of 6.98 billion ringgit ($1.8 billion) so far, Lim Guan Eng said.

That includes interest and coupon payments, and a 5.05 billion ringgit settlement payment made to Abu Dhabi fund IPIC, Lim said.

More payments, totalling 953.96 million ringgit, will fall due between this between this month and November, he said. From 2022, payments of billions more ringgit will fall due, he added.

“It is clear that the previous government has conducted an exercise of deception to the public about certain hot button items, especially 1MDB, and even misrepresented the financial situation to parliament” Lim said in a statement.

The bailing out of 1MDB by the finance ministry shows that the fund deceived the public about making debt obligations through a rationalisation exercise, he said.

Lim, who was sworn in on Monday, also said treasury officials and the country’s auditor general were unable to access certain accounts and reports.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had last week said many of the figures recording the country’s financial position may be false, though he did not offer any evidence or say which data he was referring to.

Mahathir won a historic election this month, defeating Najib and his Barisan Nasional coalition, and immediately reopened investigations into 1MDB and barred the former leader from leaving the country. He has also vowed to review several policies and projects implemented by Najib’s government. (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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