Why can’t MACC re-open investigations into the scandal of the RM40 million “political donation to Sabah Umno”?
The PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli returned from his second trip to Hong Kong and meeting with its Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with the news that the possibility is high that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman could be charged with money laundering by the Hong Kong authorities following the submission of “new evidence” related to Musa’s alleged logging commissions.
Last week, it was disclosed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Operations Review Panel had requested the Attorney-General to review its decision on the RM40 million allegedly channeled from timber trader Michael Chia to Musa.
The question is why the MACC could not act independently and professionally, and on its own re-open investigations into the scandal of the RM40 million “political donation to Sabah Umno” in the light of “new evidence”, especially with many questions left answered, including:
Whether the RM40 million cash in Singapore currency, which Sabah timber trader Michael Chia had in his luggage before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 14, 2008 and was impounded by the Hong Kong for three years but which had to be released when the Malaysian authorities refused to co-operate with ICAC on the case, was “dirty money” derived from corruption and/or illegal logging activities in Sabah which had to be smuggled or laundered back into Malaysia.
There are many unanswered questions about the scandal of the RM40 million “political donation to Sabah Umno” – in particular whether it was the MACC or the Attorney-General’s Chambers which told ICAC that the RM40 million was a political donation to Sabah UMNO and caused the ICAC to close the case and release the RM40 million.
What evidence is there for MACC or the Attorney-General’s Chambers to conclude that the RM40 million cash were not timber kickbacks for the Sabah Chief Minister but was a legitimate political donation to Sabah Umno?
So long as the Malaysian public are kept in the dark as to whether it was the MACC or the AG’s Chambers which had been responsible for exonerating Michael Chia and Musa and the release of the RM40 million after being impounded by the Hong Kong authorities for three years, Malaysians cannot be blamed for their scepticism and lack of confidence both in the MACC and the AG’s Chambers as far as combatting “grand corruption” involving top BN leaders are concerned.
There are also concerns about the role of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who hails from Sabah and is said to be related to Musa's family, and whether he had been guilty of conflict-of-interest and therefore abuse of power and corruption if he had played any role in clearing Musa and the release of the RM40 million cash impounded in Hong Kong for three years as “political donation to Sabah UMNO”.
The MACC will never be able to hold its head high in international anti-corruption circles if ICAC re-opens investigations into the case, which the MACC and the AG’s Chambers had been responsible for keeping closed.