Thursday, November 30, 2017

Why hasn’t the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigated Johor MB, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin?

The whole of Malaysia have now seen the MACC investigation documents which have been leaked this week, implicating corruption by the Johor Menteri Besar (MB), Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.  The documents comprised of the witness statement taken by MACC during its investigation into Johor state executive councillor Datuk Abdul Latif Bandi. The documents come from the Commission’s interview with Amir Shariffuddin bin Abdul Raub, who was also charged with Datuk Latif in April this year.

MACC had investigated the two in relation to a land graft scandal, where the two had received multiple bribes amounting to RM30 million from developers in return for their assistance in changing the status of bumiputera lots as well as reducing the 7.5% charge levied upon developers.

As shocking as the initial news of their investigation was, the biggest shocker is found in the witness statement (relevant pages attached), where Amir admitted to delivering nearly RM12 million in cash to the Menteri Besar in return for the MB’s help in the necessary land changes.

The MACC has effectively confirmed the authenticity of these documents when Deputy MACC commissioner Dato’ Sri Azam Baki’s said yesterday that the documents were sent to the lawyers of one of the defendants in the case.

Now that the MACC has acknowledged the documents, they will have to explain their failure to investigate the MB, who is similarly implicated according to the witness statement.

The first account given by Amir was for an alleged transfer of RM4 million in September 2013. That kickback would come from the developer MB Land, which had solicited Amir’s help in converting the land status and waiving the charge.

Following that successful deal, Amir says he was approached by other developers for similar favours. Each of these deals would also include multiple alleged kickbacks to the Mentri Besar. For a deal by IJM Group, Amir stated that he instructed his lawyer Zul Azam to cash in a cheque worth RM1 million. He then handed over the money in a backpack as instructed by Datuk Khaled. That was done on 14 November 2013.

Subsequently, Amir also admitted to paying the MB, a total of RM9.7 million in cash over 10 transactions between 16 April 2014 and 4 May 2016. Those payments were for facilitating a land deal for Scientex Sdn. Bhd. The report specifically highlighted 5 of those transactions made on 16 April 2014, 1 October 2014, 20 October 2014, 2 December 2014 and 17 June 2015.

With such concrete evidence in front of their own noses, why hasn’t the MACC investigated Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin?

Worse, the MACC has decided it was more appropriate to ‘kill the messenger’ by filing a police report over the purported leaks.  In turn, the Johor state assembly (DUN) disgraced itself by acting in cahoots in its attempt to silence the issue by throwing out Senai state assemblywoman Wong Shu Qi in the DUN.

In fact, all the companies which have paid the alleged bribes must be investigated, and if guilty, charged and punished as well.  After all, the MACC has often opined that the giver of bribes is as guilty as those who receive.

The question is, is the Johor MB immune to investigations and prosecution just like Dato’ Seri Najib Razak is, in the case of the multi-billion ringgit scandal, 1MDB?  While the MACC abdicated from its responsibility to investigate the Prime Minister by shoving the responsibility to the Police, what is MACC’s excuse this time?

Where is the ‘all hands on the deck’ haste and urgency in the MACC just like the way it dealt with alleged and even trumped up corruption charges against opposition figures?  Or will this remove, once and for all, the façade that the MACC is an independent investigating institution which will act without fear or favour; and that it is merely an extended paw of UMNO to oppress the opposition while protecting its political masters?

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