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Is the ACA trying to derail
and sabotage task force investigations into serious corruption allegations
against ACA chief by unilaterally releasing unverified information about
Zulkifli’s assets declarations?
(Parliament, Monday) : Investigations into the serious corruption allegations against the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor is getting even more curiouser and curiouser by the day.
The attempt by ACA’s former Disciplinary Management Centre chief and currently ACA Negri Sembilan director, Halim Ibrahim to publicly exonerate the ACA chief by revealing details of Zulkipli’s various declaration of assets in public service is not only most unusual, unprecedented but questionable.
According to Halim, Zulkipli had made the declaration on three occasions since 1988.
The second declaration on Sept 14, 2003, was said to be approved by the then Chief Secretary to the Government on March 25, 2004.
declaration was sent to the Public Service Department on July 7 last year.
I do not wish here to dwell on the details of Zulkipli’s three declarations of assets publicly disclosed by Halim.
While welcoming such publication, ACA should as a matter of policy and principle adopt an open and transparent culture and not be selective in releasing information to suit the needs of its masters, whether political or bureaucratic.
In July 2005, I had queried the ACA why it had failed to take action in the case of the former Sabah Chief Minister and Federal Minister for Land and Co-operatives, Datuk Seri Osu Sukam, in its investigations as to how he could have amassed such astronomical wealth as to gamble RM158.7 million, lose RM31.6 million and run up RM7.1 million debts in a London casino a year after political retirement, apart from bigger gambling debts in other casinos as well as in other countries like Australia.
I had pointed out that in Osu Sukam’s 15 years in various public offices from Deputy Works Minister in 1986 to Sabah Chief Minister 1999-2001, Osu would have at least made four declarations of his assets to the Prime Minister.
All these four declaration of assets to the Prime Minister should be the basis on which the ACA should launch a thorough investigation as to whether Osu had corruptly and illegally amassed such astronomical wealth as to enable him to gamble hundreds of millions of ringgit in various casinos in London and Australia a year after his political retirement.
Or are declarations of assets whether by political leaders in government or top government officers so unsatisfactory and defective that they are worthless tools in the battle to promote national integrity and combat corruption?
There are two important questions about Abdul Halim’s disclosures. Firstly, is the ACA trying to derail and sabotage task force investigations into serious corruption allegations against ACA chief by unilaterally releasing unverified information about Zulkifli’s assets declarations?
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan had announced on Friday that a special task force comprising senior police officers and deputy public prosecutors and excluding the ACA will investigate the serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli. Its first task is to check with all relevant departments, agencies and the Securities Commission for records of businesses, licences, properties, assets or shares related to Zulkipli.
Zulkipli added: “While the task force is now doing through records of his properties, I am waiting for the financial analysis on the properties he has declared.
“The task force is also checking on what Zulkipli has declared and how much the properties are worth. We will then tailor our investigations according to the Attorney-General’s advice.”
Musa’s seems to have set out a term of reference for the special task which is very much narrower and restricted than one spelt out by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail last Wednesday when he publicly directed the police to “speed up” investigations into the serious corruption against Zulkipli. (NST 1.3.07)
Gani had said the investigations would include checks against the asset declaration made by Zulkipli, and comparing the asset declarations to as to how one pays or finances one’s properties. “Such investigations would include checks on the financial position of one’s family members to ascertain their contribution to the household income.”
In this connection, in the interests of accountability, transparency and integrity as well as public confidence in the investigations into the serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli, the composition of the special task force and who is heading the investigation should be publicly announced.
Halim’s revelation of the unverified assets declarations of Zulkipli also raised another public interest issue.
The three declarations by Zulkipli in 1999, 2003 and 2006 do not seem to tally with the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Zulkipli went through a vetting process twice and was both times cleared to take up the post of ACA director-general.
Abdullah said the first vetting was done in 2001 before he was to be appointed ACA director-general and the second time in 2005 before he was re-appointed to the post. It would appear these vetting processes have nothing to do with examination of Zulkipli’s declaration of assets or even the police report on complaints on sexual crimes and assault which had previously been lodged against Zulkipli, but which the police have no knowledge of its outcome until a few days ago.
These discrepancies should be explained without any delay so that public credibility with regarding to various governments pronouncement on this matter is not subject to further strain and stress.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman