Friday, July 16, 2010

Anwar Misled The US Government?



During a press conference held on the last day of the parliamentary session yesterday, Khairy Jamaluddin revealed a report of Government Accountability Project (GAP), a leading whistleblower protection organisation in the USA, that shows Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim et al had allegedly misled the U.S. Government to disburse public funds for the Foundation For The Future.

The report can be found at: http://www.whistleblower.org

A. Summary

· A report released by the GAP on 8 July 2010, exposes a highly irregular manner in which the Foundation for the Future (FFF – an entity that was previously chaired by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim ) was run.

· Specifically, the report details how the Congress was misled for the release of USD 21.3 millions of the U.S. public money for the Foundation.

· The report, which is based on 267 documents released by the Department of State over a period of 33 months, found that in order to obtain the disbursement to the FFF, the US Congress had been deluded about the funding pledged to the Foundation by other governments. Evidence strongly suggests that section 534(k) of US Public Law 109-102, which at that time stipulated that funds could only be made available to the Foundation to the extent that they had been matched by contributions from other governments, was violated; the Foundation’s own reports show that less than $6.4 million of the $22.26 million in “matching funds” listed by the State Department in its communications with Congress as pledged ever materialised.

· GAP’s report also suggests that FFF management – including former FFF Chairman (and close friend of Paul Wolfowitz) Anwar Ibrahim – misled the US Internal Revenue Service. The FFF’s financial statements for 2006 and 2007 stated that the Foundation did not attempt to influence national legislation, an assertion contradicted by the cables and reports released by the Department of State. These documents suggest that several Foundation representatives actively lobbied the US Congress in 2006-07 for legislative changes favourable to the FFF.


B. Disbursement of “Matching” Funds

On June 12, 2007, Mr. David Welch of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs sent an Action Memo to the Acting Director of US Foreign Assistance, requesting that she approve “the notification and obligation of $21,300,000 in FY 2006 ESF and FY 2006 Supplemental Economic Support Funds (ESF) by the Middle East Partnership Initiative for the Foundation for the Future,” which she did that same day.

According to that memo:

The FY 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act provided that up to $35 million in ESF may be made available to the Foundation only to the extent that the Foundation has commitments from sources other than the United States government to at least match the funds provided under the act. As of June 1, 2007, a total of $22.26 million has been pledged by other governments.

On June 15, a Congressional Notification Transmittal Sheet was sent from the State Department informing Congress of the intent to obligate $21.3 million to the FFF. According to a description of the Foundation that accompanied this notification:

A total of $22.26 million has been pledged by other governments, including the European Commission (1 million Euros or approximately 1.26 million), Spain ($1 illion), the United Kingdom ($1 million), Switzerland ($1 million), Denmark($2 million), Netherlands ($1 million), Greece ($1.5 million), Turkey ($500,000), Jordan ($1 million), Qatar ($10 million), and Bahrain ($2 million)… The amount notified here, combined with the funds already provided to Eurasia, make up the $22.2 million allowable for the Foundation at this time under the Act’s requirements for matching funds.

On July 18, the Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the State Department regarding these funds. In this MOA, Anwar Ibrahim, Chairman and Acting President of the FFF Board, agreed that the Foundation had “received commitments from sources other than the United States Government to at least match any funds provided hereunder.”

The Foundation for the Future is required by Public Law 110-053 to submit its annual report to Congress. These annual reports suggest that the matching amounts cited in the Congressional Notification sheet and MOA were erroneous.

According to the Foundation’s Annual Reports, it actually received USD $27,785,222 total in government contributions from 2006-2009, $21,388,057 of which were US government funds. Therefore, only USD $6,397,165 – less than 30 percent of the putative $22.26 million in “matching funds” – materialised.

Thus, the actual amount of funds committed by other governments was far below the $22.26 million figure that the State Department cited to justify authorization from Congress to disburse matching US funds.


C. Anwar’s Role

Misrepresenting the U.S. Government: -

[1] As Chairman and Acting President of the Foundation For the Future Board, he stated that, in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the State Department signed on 18 July 2007, that the Foundation had received commitments from sources other than the U.S. Government to at least match any funds provided by the U.S.

[2] During his watch as Chairman, The FFF’s financial statements for 2006 and 2007, stated that the Foundation did not attempt to influence national legislation, an assertion contradicted by the cables and reports released by the Department of State. These documents suggest that several Foundation representatives actively lobbied the US Congress in 2006-07 for legislative changes favorable to the FFF.

Concealing the U.S. Government’s contribution:-

[1] On 20 May 2007, Anwar issued a media statement asserting that the U.S. Government did not provide any funds for the Foundation.

An extract of that statement is as follows:

Yayasan tersebut merupakan sebuah badan independent, melibatkan kerajaan dan masyarakat madani untuk menyokong badan-badan bukan kerajaan di dalam usaha membangunkan demokrasi dan kebebasan di Timur Tengah dan Afrika Utara.Dari awal, sebanyak US$56 juta telah dijanjikan kepada Yayasan. Setakat ini, Yayasan hanya menerima dana dari Turki, United Kingdom dan Jordan, antara lain. Amerka Syarikat tidak memberikan sebarang dana kepada Yayasan..

[2] On 22 May 2007, Anwar was quoted by Utusan Malaysia of uttering that the Foundation did not received a single cent from any parties in the U.S.A. and characterised reports that claimed otherwise as simply a smear campaign.

Extract of Anwar’s quotes from the Utusan Malaysia’s article:

“Saya sungguh kecewa kerana perkara ini dijadikan satu propaganda kotor. AS tidak pernah memberi satu sen pun kepada yayasan ini dan kami mempunyai bukti.

However:

[1] The GAP findings show that the U.S. Government had paid USD21.3 million to the foundation from 2006 to 2009.

[2] A Washington Post new article dated 14 April 2007, that is 35 days before the release of Anwar’s statement on 20 May 2007, reported that the U.S. Government contributed almost two-thirds of the foundation's $56 million budget based on information it obtained from the State Department.

[3] Further as the Foundation Chairman and member of the Board since mid 2006, Anwar must have been updated and made aware of the Foundation’s operation and fund-seeking exercise.

Notes:

[1] The Washing Post report:

Woman in World Bank Controversy Working on Mideast Project
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 14, 2007

The woman at the center of the storm surrounding World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz has spent the past few months trying to get one of the signature efforts of President Bush's Middle East democracy campaign off the ground.

The Foundation for the Future, as the effort is called, has made no grants and held only two board meetings since its creation 1 1/2 years ago. Though Shaha Riza, who has been romantically linked to Wolfowitz, is not listed as part of the staff on the organization's Web site, she is the only person working in the group's offices, located within the Henry L. Stimson Center, a think tank. The Washington office is listed as a "branch," according to the site, which promises that soon a main office will be established in Beirut.

"It is basically just her running this thing," said Tamara Cofman Wittes, research fellow at the Brookings Institution Saban Center for Middle East Policy, who closely tracks democracy programs in the region. She said the board members had no experience in grant-making and thus had "started from zero," with no bylaws or grant-making guidelines. She said the board has had a goal of trying to make its first grant by summer, nearly two years after the organization was formed.

The United States contributed almost two-thirds of the foundation's $56 million budget, according to the State Department, which said last night that the foundation plans to hire a chief operating officer and chief financial officer next month.

Since September 2005, the World Bank has paid Riza's salary -- which under the terms of a contract dictated by Wolfowitz included automatic raises that has brought it to $193,590 tax-free -- while she was seconded to the State Department to assist on Middle East democracy issues. There, she worked under Elizabeth Cheney, who was then principal deputy assistant secretary; Wolfowitz worked for Cheney's father as an undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Elizabeth Cheney, who has since left the State Department, was in charge of democracy promotion and was instrumental in creating the Foundation for the Future, which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced with fanfare at a conference in Bahrain in November 2005. The foundation would make grants that let "reformers to draw upon their ideas and their ideals to nurture grass-roots organizations that support the development of democracy," Rice said.

Riza moved to the foundation in December 2006 to become senior adviser to its executive committee and board of directors, according to documents released yesterday by the World Bank. The one board member from the United States is retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was traveling yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

A letter dated Oct. 1, 2006, from Anwar Ibrahim, the foundation's chairman, to Robin Cleveland, Wolfowitz's counselor, said that if Riza moved from State to the foundation, she would recruit staff, supervise the hiring and training of senior management in the Middle East, identify programs to receive grants and supervise the implementation of policies on programs, finances and administration. "The Bank concurs with this proposal," Cleveland handwrote on Dec. 14, 2006.

After meeting in Geneva in February, the executive committee announced that it would hold a "logo competition" for the region's youth and had reviewed proposals for a civil society resource center and a conference on rule of law.

Riza, who did not return phone calls or e-mails, wrote the World Bank earlier this week that she had not wanted to take the assignments outside the bank, according to a letter released by the bank.

Especially suspicious was the State Department’s representation of a murky $10 million pledge from Qatar, the largest “pledge” of any country other than the United States. Documents indicate that the State Department knew that this pledge would never materialize when it asked Congress to disburse matching funds.

GAP’s report also suggests that FFF management – including former FFF Chairman (and close friend of Paul Wolfowitz) Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently a Malaysian parliamentarian – misled the US Internal Revenue Service. The FFF’s financial statements for 2006 and 2007 state that the Foundation did not attempt to influence national legislation, an assertion contradicted by the cables and reports released by the Department of State. These documents suggest that several Foundation representatives actively lobbied the US Congress in 2006-07 for legislative changes favorable to the FFF.


[2] Anwar’s Media Statement on 20 May 2007

KENYATAAN MEDIA FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE

Foundation for the Future (Yayasan Masa Hadapan) mula-mula diumumkan di Bahrain pada November 2005 oleh menteri-menteri luar dan pembangunan dari Timur Tengah, Afrika Utara, Eropah dan Amerika Syarikat.

Yayasan tersebut merupakan sebuah badan independent, melibatkan kerajaan dan masyarakat madani untuk menyokong badan-badan bukan kerajaan di dalam usaha membangunkan demokrasi dan kebebasan di Timur Tengah dan Afrika Utara.Dari awal, sebanyak US$56 juta telah dijanjikan kepada Yayasan. Setakat ini, Yayasan hanya menerima dana dari Turki, United Kingdom dan Jordan, antara lain. Amerka Syarikat tidak memberikan sebarang dana kepada Yayasan..

Saya dijemput untuk menyertai lembaga pengarah Yayasan pada pertengahan 2006 bersama-sama wakil dari Maghribi, Kuwait, Iraq, Sepanyol, Syria, Turki, Lubnan, Amerika Syarikat, Arab Saudi, Mesir, Switzerland dan Qatar.

Ahli lembaga pengarah yang lain termasuklah Kamel Abu Jaber, penasihat kepada Menteri Luar Jordan; Dr. Cornelio Sommaruga, bekas Presiden Jawatankuasa Palang Merah Antarabangsa; Professor Ibrahim Kallin, penasihat Menteri Luar Turki, dan Sandra Day O'Connor, bekas hakim Mahkamah Agung Amerika Syarikat.

Mesyuarat lembaga pengarah yang pertama diadakan di Doha, Qatar di atas jemputan Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Menteri Luar dan kini Perdana Menteri Qatar pada 15 Julai 2006, dan saya telah dipilih secara sebulat suara sebagai Pengerusi Kehormat Yayasan. Keputusan yang disepakati ialah untuk mendirikan ibu pejabat di Beirut, Lubnan.

Walau bagaimanapun, di dalam mesyuarat lembaga pengarah pada 4 Disember 2006 di Amman, Jordan, saya bertemu Menteri Luar Jordan Abdelelah Al-Khatib, yang menyokong saranan penubuhan sekretariat serantau di Amman memandangkan penangguhan di dalam mendirikan ibu pejabat Beirut akibat serangan Israel terhadap Lubnan. Mesyuarat lembaga pengarah seterusnya akan diadakan pada 29-30 Mei 2007 di Bahrain.

Saya tidak melantik Shaha Ali Reza ke Yayasan. Beliau mula-mula ditugaskan oleh Bank Dunia menerusi Jabatan Negara Amerika Syarikat untuk Yayasan pada hujung 2005 sebelum saya menjadi Pengerusi. Jawatankuasa eksekutif telah memutuskan pada pertengahan 2006 untuk menyeragamkan perlantikan tersebut agar Shaha menasihati secara langsung dari Bank Dunia dan bukannya Jabatan Negara.

Yayasan tersebut akan mengeluarkan kenyataan penuh selepas mesyuarat di Bahrain minggu hadapan. Tetapi, memandangkan propaganda yang berterusan dari media kawalan Umno, saya telah memutuskan untuk mengeluarkan kenyataan ini. Sekiranya tiada penjelasan oleh media berkenaan isu ini, Yayasan tidak akan teragak-agak untuk memulakan tindakan perundangan terhadap pihak-pihak terbabit.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Pengerusi Yayasan Masa Hadapan
** Kenyataan Anwar pada 20 Mei 2007

[3] ARKIB : 22/05/2007 – Utusan Malaysia

Anwar cabar buktikan kaitannya dengan Bank Dunia

KUALA LUMPUR 21 Mei – Pengerusi Yayasan bagi Masa Depan, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim mencabar mana-mana pihak yang mengkritiknya supaya membuktikan kaitan antara yayasan itu dengan Presiden Bank Dunia, Paul Wolfowitz.

Beliau berkata, yayasan tersebut tidak pernah berurusan dengan Bank Dunia dan tidak menerima bantuan kewangan daripada mana-mana pihak dari Amerika Syarikat (AS).

“Saya sungguh kecewa kerana perkara ini dijadikan satu propaganda kotor. AS tidak pernah memberi satu sen pun kepada yayasan ini dan kami mempunyai bukti.

“Ini semua propaganda yang menggunakan akhbar-akhbar tempatan bagi memanipulasi keadaan,’’ katanya kepada pemberita selepas menghadiri majlis perasmian bangunan Ibu Pejabat Pas di Jalan Raja Laut di sini hari ini.

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