Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lawyer Richard Barnes Confidant of Musa Aman Detained By MACC

Yesterday, Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) had detained Datuk Richard Christopher Barnes a senior lawyer, a confidant of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman on links to Micheal Chai and his alleged smuggling of 16 million cash out of Hong Kong airport. 5 MACC officials went to Richard Barnes legal firm, Shelley Yap Leong Tseu Chong Chai and Co in Kota Kinabalu, and took away boxes of files in relation to this case. As of now, Richard Barnes is in remand for 5 days in the MACC office in Putrajaya.
Yes, Premier Najib Tun Razak’s fight against corruption is closing in on Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman. Initially, the Premier was in a quandary and was unwilling to pass a routine political directive for the arrest and prosecution of Musa Aman’s cronies for the allegedly involvement in illegal foreign currency dealings and the smuggling of 16 million cash out of Hong Kong airport by the adopted brother Micheal Chai‏. But not for now. Premier Najib Tun Razak is going after one by one, all of Musa Aman’s timber cronies and nominees and so far 14 have already been roped in by the MACC. Well done!

In Malaysia no arrest or prosecution takes place without Premier Najib’s sanction and this is a fact. It is a political formality that the police or MACC and Attorney General adhere to.

The MACC’s criminal investigations department started to investigate Musa Aman’s close allies, for flouting exchange control regulations and running Mafia-type shelf companies in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore which runs to hundreds of million. Most of the money is under-table payments from timber kickbacks from Yayasan Sabah Concession areas made to Hong Kong-registered companies said to be linked to Musa Aman.

These companies would buy and trade foreign currency on the black market with money from the timber kickbacks. Micheal Chai and GANG then made weekly transfers involving millions of dollars which amounts to sabotaging our economic reforms by trading on the black market and flouting the Exchange Control Act in both Malaysia and Hong Kong, an offence punishable with jail time or a fine.

Since Mahathir’s pegging of the US Dollar in the late nineties, when the exchange rate was fixed, several business people, timber tycoons, hoteliers and bankers have been arrested for illegally dealing in foreign currency. However, it appears that no one had the guts to go after Musa Aman’s Cronies, Micheal Chai and Gang of 14 including Freddy Lim— whom many have dubbed the Godfather� of murky foreign currency dealings in Malaysia. Freddy Lim was at one time put under the Internal Security Act ISA for economic sabotage.

The Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) revealed that a docket was opened last year and handed to MACC for action. But no political directive� was forthcoming, so MACC put an end to the investigation.

I was reliably informed that a second probe was conducted by the MACC only after the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) officials came to Sabah to investigate Musa Aman personally last year. Sometimes January this year, the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) officials had informed their Malaysian counterparts that if they do not act on the individuals link to the money laundering in Hong Kong, the ICAC Hong Kong would get a arrest warrant in Hong Kong for the arrest of the Chief Minister Musa Aman as his name had been implicated in the smuggling of the 16 million cash out of the Hong Kong International Airport.

The docket was made available to the MACC by a high-ranking source in the government of Hong Kong. It is all there.

License to govern does not mean license to be corrupt and Musa Aman has to learn this the hard way.

One wonders when there will be enough awareness in this country that citizens would learn to question the ‘civilised robbers’, question them, fight them and fix them. Newspapers in the meantime will be busy with Anwar’s sodomy or Ketuanan Melayu debates or New Parliament in Putrajaya, while this nation is being robbed by those who are supposed to be guardians.

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