Minister unsure if RM40m donation held privately by Umno man
By Clara Chooi Assistant News Editor
October 25, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz is unsure if a RM40 million “political donation” for Sabah Umno had been remitted into the personal bank account of an Umno leader, as alleged by a former Barisan Nasional (BN) MP, rather than the ruling party itself.
The de facto law minister, who has been fielding queries on the controversy over the past few weeks in Parliament, told The Malaysian Insider that his replies to the House were based on reports he had received from the authorities.
“To be honest, I do not know the details. What I see... and the reply is given to me so I reply accordingly,” he said when approached in Parliament yesterday.
Ex-BN MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said on Tuesday night that the RM40 million had been remitted to the personal account of an Umno leader, disputing Nazri’s claim the day before that the money was held frozen in a Hong Kong investment account. Bumburing had also said that family members of this Umno leader, whom he did not name, have been given access to this account, and have even been making withdrawals “bit by bit”.
“Check,” Nazri(picture) said, when this was pointed out.
He added that it was “no problem” if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wanted to report the matter to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), pointing out that any individual would have the same right.
“They are making new allegations. I’m not in the position to say yes or no. If they want to check, checklah. What do you want me to say?,” the minister said.
Earlier yesterday, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said the pact will lodge a report with the central bank, citing possible money laundering in the RM40 million “political donation” to Sabah Umno, which is at the centre of a controversy involving Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.
“If he (Rafizi) wants to do it, let him do it. No problem. Honestly. He has every right to request BNM to look into money-laundering claims. No problem,” Nazri said.
The Padang Rengas MP added that there was nothing illegal with the donation, regardless of the size of the contribution.
“It’s a donation,” he reasoned, when pointed out that the source of the donation appeared questionable.
“You cannot be assuming that if it (donation) is big, then the source must be illegal. But if he (Rafizi) wants to check, let him check,” Nazri said, when asked again if any donation should be considered acceptable regardless of its size and source.
In Parliament earlier this month, it was revealed that Musa had been cleared of corruption after the local anti-graft authorities found that the RM40 million in question was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno and was not meant for the chief minister’s personal use.
According to past reports, the probe was first kicked off in 2008 at the request of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) after a businessman was allegedly arrested when attempting to smuggle the cash back to Malaysia.
But, findings by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) later cleared Musa’s name and subsequently led to the ICAC closing its probe against the Sabah Umno chief.
Opposition lawmakers here have, however, been dissatisfied with the closure of the matter and have been demanding the Najib administration explain the source of the donation and the exact events leading up to the probe on Musa.