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ACA DG admits ACA impotence and failure in past Auditor-General Reports but how different will it be for the ACA with regard to the 2006 Auditor-General�s Report when ACA had more than two month�s headstart to complete investigations already?

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Saturday): I thank the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) Director-General Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan for inadvertently confirming what I had said in Parliament during the 2008 Budget debate on Tuesday � that the 2006 Auditor-General�s Report had been completed on 28th June 2007 and would have been submitted to the government shortly after.

I posed these questions in Parliament: �Why are Cabinet Ministers only beginning to wake up now to the gross mismanagement, waste and abuse of public funds more than two months of the completion of the Auditor-General�s Report?

�Would the Ministers reacted to these gross mismanagement of public funds if no publicity had been given to the Auditor-General�s Report?

�Were all the Ministers aware of and had approved the explanations which the various government departments had given, some most ridiculous and most unacceptable, to the strictures of the Auditor-General�s Report and which had been tabled in the House?

�Is every Minister prepared to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to personally assume responsibility for the mismanagement of public funds highlighted in the Auditor-General�s Report?�

When the Auditor-General�s Report is dated June 28, 2007, it would mean that it had been submitted to the Yang di Pertuan Agong under Article 107 of the Constitution, with copies available to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and relevant heads of Ministries and departments in a matter of days.

This had been confirmed by the ACA director-general in the New Straits Times report �ACA probe into audit cases 'started earlier'� where Ahmad Said admitted that the ACA had begun investigations into the Auditor-General�s 2006 Report �long before it was tabled in Parliament� on September 7.

He said the ACA had received copies of the report from the Auditor-General �sometime ago�.

He said: �We are investigating. You will have the result soon. Most of the things highlighted are already been investigated�.

The NST report continued:

Although Ahmad Said did not give any details of the investigation, it is widely believed the ACA is looking at several cases highlighted by the media.

Among the prominent ones are:

� How the Youth and Sports Ministry paid RM8.39 million more than the market price for 13 items for its youth institute�s programmes.

Among these were RM224 for a set of four screwdrivers costing RM32 in the market; RM5.72 million for two crane towers against the market price of RM2.98 million; technical books consisting of 10 titles priced at RM10,700; and a 3.1 megapixel digital camera that was bought for RM8,254;

� The way the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has been dishing out funds to non-governmental organisations which do not qualify for them; and,

� How two Social Welfare Department district offices in Raub and Bentong under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry were found to have distributed RM113,035 aid to 36 people who had died.

If the NST report is reliable, it would mean that there are financial improprieties raised in the 2006 Auditor-General�s Report which are out-of-bounds for the ACA, such as:

� National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) paying RM5.59 million in advance to 4,183 students who did not apply for a loan; and

� Escalation of costs because of mismanagement and delays in the construction of six high-tech offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) by a whopping RM1.4 billion.

Why is this so?

Two days ago, I had challenged the ACA to prove that it is not a �toothless tiger� and disclose how many persons had been arrested and prosecuted for corruption and criminal breach of trust from previous Auditor-Generals Reports.

The silence of the ACA Director-General to this challenge has come as no surprise, for the ACA has nothing to show whatsoever in follow-up actions on the past Auditor-General�s Reports whether for federal or state governments resulting in prosecution of public servants who had been corrupt or committed criminal of trust in mismanaging millions or tens of millions of ringgit of public funds.

Ambrin made a very revealing comment about ACA producing a blank report card during his Q & A in the New Sunday Times report �Constant monitoring will bring results� of September 2, 2007, viz:

Q: After the audit exercise for 2005, you said the Anti-Corruption Agency would be going after civil servants who swindled or mismanaged public funds. Are you satisfied with the action taken?

A: Our reports are available to the ACA, which is responsible for investigating wrongdoings. If there is such evidence, it is up to them to take action.

We just highlight the discrepancies, the rest is up to the relevant agencies and bodies to follow-up.

Ahmad Said�s cryptic remarks yesterday is tantamount to a public confession of ACA impotence and failure to act on past Auditor-General Reports. But how different will it be for the ACA this time with regard to the 2006 Auditor-General�s Report when ACA had adequate and ample time with at least two months� headstart to complete investigations already?

Or will the continued impotence of the ACA on the 2006 Auditor-General�s Reports be just further proof of the need for the ACA to be taken out of the Prime Minister�s Department to become completely independent body, answerable only to Parliament?


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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