Friday, July 5, 2013

International corruption watchdog demands MACC action on Taib


BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
JULY 05, 2013
An international corruption watchdog has slammed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commissioner (MACC) for their delay in wrapping up their probe into the alleged corrupt practices of Sarawak's Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (pic).
Global Witness noted that the probe began in 2011 and yet no charges had been brought against Taib.
It wanted the MACC to get Taib to declare all his offshore assets, including those held by family members.
Datuk Paul Low, who was then chairman of Transparency International Malaysia, had urged the Government to immediately commission a panel of independent and reputable external auditors to examine and identify cases of suspected corruption and abuse of public office with regard to state resources and land deals.
Global Witness came to prominence just before the election when it released a video tape showing recordings of conversations between its private investigators and two of Taib's cousins.
GW commended Low whose anti-corruption ambitions include combating graft and improving transparency.
However, they are now holding him to that promise as Low is now Minister in Prime Minister's Department in charge of the implementation of transparency in the government.
"The investigations began in June 2011 and despite the considerable evidence available, no charge has been brought against the powerful chief minister," GW stressed.
Calling for swift action to be taken, GW urged the MACC to immediately ask Taib to declare all international assets - including companies held in offshore jurisdictions, of which he and his family are beneficial owners.
"He should also be questioned how companies belonging to his family are now controlling a vast bank of land for oil palm plantations.
"GW would support such an audit as an urgent remedial measure alongside the MACC investigation to prevent abuse of public office in Sarawak."
MACC set up a 10-men task force and said they were receiving help from the A-G's Chambers as additional measures.
On Tuesday, Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen presented in Parliament a list of 24 plots of land, acquired in the timber-rich state by the family which is worth about RM1 billion.
Taib had allegedly acquired the land through several companies owned by Taib's immediate family, from the state for a fraction of its market value.
MACC, which had set up a 10-men task force to investigate Taib, had then approached Chong a day later to ask him for the documents.
Taib, who has been in office for 32 years, has long been in the centre of controversy following allegations of abuse of power.
The powerful chief minister, however, had dismissed the allegations, calling the MACC “naughty”, while maintaining that he would not be cooperating with them for not being upfront with him. - July 7, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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