Thursday, July 31, 2014

Probe role of M’sian PMs in banknote graft case

12:56PM Jul 31, 2014

COMMENT The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), is profoundly appalled at the revelations by WikiLeaks on a gag order and super injunction invoked by the Australian government on a multi-million dollar international banknote graft case, involving the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), with no less than three generations of Malaysian prime ministers mentioned.

This case came to light following leaks on Australia’s gag order on allegations of multi-million dollar inducements to officials in Malaysia and other countries made by subsidiaries of RBA, Securency and Note Printing Australia, in the supply of RM5 polymer notes.

The injunction prohibits the naming of 17 individuals who include the current and past heads of states in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and senior officials.

In the case of Malaysia, the report quotes former prime minister Dr Mahathir Muhammad (right), Abdullah Badawi and current Premier Najib Razak, potentially making this one of the top corruption scandals of all time.

Australia claimed that the court injunction invoked “national security” grounds to prevent negative media reports about the case in a bid to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”.

This follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

While Australia’s attempt at covering up this corruption scandal must be condemned, the significance of whistleblowing has shown itself yet again as a key graft busting element, and how much whistle blowers like Julian Assange (right) deserve due protection instead of being chastised and purged.

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) must be immediately invoked to pressure international investigations and cooperation on this case.

Australia and Malaysia who are both signatories to the convention must lead by example and ensure that this scandal, multi country and international in nature be given the public scrutiny it deserves via provisions in the UNCAC.

 The UNCAC very specifically says that states parties are obliged to assist each other in cross- border criminal matters. This includes gathering and transferring evidence of corruption for use in court. Cooperation in criminal matters is necessary, in fighting corruption across borders.

'No stone unturned'

The Malaysian government must assure its people that no stone is left unturned in seeking for answers.

As such C4 urges for:
  1. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to immediately reopen the case, and investigate the latest information as reported by Wikileaks.

    Although Director of Aksavest Sdn Bhd, (an intermediary company) Abdul Kayum Ahmad was charged for having corruptly given a bribe of RM50,000 to Muhammad Daud bin Dol Moin (Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia), to win banknote printing contracts, it has become evident that higher hands are involved and this merits a revisit of the case.
  2. An independent body to initiate fresh investigations into the roles of the three premiers mentioned in the gag order. After all Abdullah Badawi had denied receiving bribes from two Australian firms during his tenure in 2011.

    This must be thoroughly scrutinised and commitments made that information is not muzzled, and Malaysians are not kept blindfolded over the possible wrongdoings of our leaders.
  3. For the Malaysian government and Bank Negara to make public the full deal between the RBA and Malaysian companies involved.

    The names of companies involved and the persons involved in dealing with Securency, who won the banknote contracts in Malaysia in 1998 and 2004.

CYNTHIA GABRIEL is director of the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4).

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