15 Dec 2010

MACC says new proof found in Tajuddin’s case

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) revealed today that new evidence has surfaced in its investigations against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.The anti-graft body’s Operations’ Evaluation Panel chairman (PPO) Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil said today that corruption investigations against the former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chairman was still underway, but refused to elaborate further.“The MACC still currently investigating Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli, the former MAS chairman for alleged corruption.
“There is new evidence to Tajuddin Ramli’s case, but we cannot reveal any further details as of yet. There are new witnesses, but with all corruption cases, it can only stay investigated if witnesses come forward,” Hadenan told a press conference today.MAS experienced its biggest ever loss amounting to RM8 billion when Tajuddin was chairman, which led to complaints being lodged against him.Pakatan Rakyat parties, chiefly PAS, have been pressuring the MACC to investigate the high-profile case, using the anti-graft body’s delay in investigations as political fodder in nightly rallies across the country.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, who is part of the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption, had claimed that the MACC was holding back in probing the case.“I cannot forget the MAS issue... I had reported it to MACC, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Police and the chairman of the special panel for MACC but so far there has been no response.“If you follow procedures, this is strange, why no development in these cases? Look at PKFZ, only after five years we see some form of action, the same goes for (Datuk Seri) Khir Toyo,” the PAS man told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.Hadenan, however, refuted allegations that the anti-graft body was powerless when investigating high-powered personalities.
“There have been claims that the MACC has not been investigating (Tajuddin Ramli’s) case... investigations are still being carried,” said Hadenan.

MAS had first lodged a police report against Tajuddin in 2002 for allegedly causing the national carrier to suffer losses in excess of RM8 billion.Tajuddin was the executive chairman of the airlines from 1994 to 2001.
According to a report to the MACC, a major contributor to the record losses under Tajuddin was the relocation of MAS’s cargo operation in Amsterdam and Frankfurt to a single hub in Hahn, Germany, where the airline was forced to enter into a disadvantageous aircraft lease contract with a company, which was later linked to Tajuddin’s family.

The new cargo hub operation had caused MAS to suffer losses of between RM10 million and RM16 million a month before the project was terminated after the government regained control of MAS in 2001.
The termination resulted in a RM300 million arbitration claim against MAS by the company.
The report to the MACC dated May last year also alleged that the Attorney-General has been reluctant to prosecute Tajuddin, despite the then-CCID chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff’s assurance in 2007 that it had identified various prosecutable offences.It also claimed that Tajuddin had been given access to the investigation and police records, which were used to facilitate the arbitration claim.

He also said today that all corruption charges against Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had been dropped.The MACC had previously investigated Nik Aziz over a RM65,000 “sponsorship” for the hajj pilgrimage last year.The commission had also probed claims of abuse against him when he appointed his son-in-law, Abdul Ariffahmi Ab. Rahman, as CEO of PMBK, a Kelantan state government agency.“The Attorney-General finds that no charges can be made, as Nik Aziz has never requested to be sponsored for the Hajj trip, and did not complete the pilgrimage to Mecca last year.“The A-G also finds Abdul Ariffahmi’s appointment as CEO is more towards a change of job title, and the MB has full power to appoint (officers),” said Hadenan.The PPO chairman said, however, that MACC’s investigations had found significant weaknesses in the appointment of state government officers, which could lead to a possible abuse of power.

“The PPO is of the view that the MACC needs to advise all state governments to improve on their systems of governance to avoid any conflicts of interests,” said Hadenan.

He also said the A-G would not press any charges against Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong over complaints that he had failed to declare himself as a director of a company and had owned shares in the said company.“The A-G has decided that there will be no charges against Datuk Wee Ka Siong because he has already relinquished his post as director of the company. He has also declared his assets to the prime minister,” added Hadenan.

Source : http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/macc-says-new-proof-found-in-tajuddins-case/

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