Monday, September 14, 2009

Legal Action Against Tiong Halted?

Did the Prime Minister set up the new PKFZ “Super” task force to prevent the Ministry of Transport “Special” Task Force from commencing legal suits against Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and other relevant parties?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has announced on the 9th September that a new Super task force led by the Chief Secretary of Government, comprising of the Attorney General, Treasurer Secretary-General and other officers from the Ministry of Transport and Finance will be set up to investigate further into the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

We have highlighted the fact that this “super” task force will be immediately rendered impotent from the fact that there will be enormous conflict of interest involved by the officials who are appointed to the task force as these officials are themselves involved directly or indirectly with the various decisions made and actions taken (or not taken) leading to the cost of the project ballooning from RM2 billion to RM7.98 billion and potentially to RM12.5 billion.

However Malaysians are still left in the dark as to whether the “special” task force as well as 2 committees set up by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in June 2009 has been disbanded with immediate effect.

The Special Task Force comprises of preeminent lawyers, accountants, quantity surveyors and building cost consultants from top rated professional firms were appointed to assist in the legal review and financial restructuring of PKFZ.

Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, the Chairman of PKA had announced that the Board of PKA has already been briefed by the Special Task Force on the various possible fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, negligence, wrongdoings and irregularities discovered. The Board was also informed of various notices of payments which were believed to be false, erroneous or defective.

On behalf of the PKA board of directors, Datuk Lee emphasized that the PKA “legal team has been asked to commence legal action against KDSB and relevant parties” and to “use every legal means possible to challenge the disputed claims amounting to about RM1.4 billion” in his press statements dated 10th, 18th and 26th August.

The question now is whether the announcement by Datuk Seri Najib has effectively killed any attempts by PKA to immediately summon the parties found to have cheated and defrauded them, as the task of investigation the malpractices has been handed over to the Chief Secretary of Government?

The Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat appears to be resigned to the above fact as he made the face-saving statement that he “consider(s) the new task force as the last lap in what has been a tedious and complicated marathon race” which could only mean that the previous lap by the “special” task force he set up has been stopped in its tracks.

The DAP calls for the Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to demonstrate boldness and a “performance now” culture by entrusting PKA to immediately pursue legal actions against parties who had acted against the interest of the Government based on the reports prepared by the “Special” task force led Mr Vinayak Pradhan from Skrine & Co. Mr Pradhan has impeccable credentials as a former Commissioner with the United Nations (UN) Compensation Commission and member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The failure of the Government to do so can only mean a clear attempt by Datuk Seri Najib to cover up once again Malaysia's mother of all scandals, which will cost Malaysians up to RM12.5 billion.
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