Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Former Minister involved in money laundering?

By Rahmah Ghazali

KAPAR: He was allegedly offered RM300,000 to keep his mouth shut about a money laundering scandal, in which former works minister Mohd Zin Mohamed has been implicated.
But when the promise was not kept, businessman Mohamad Tahir Fazal Mohd decided to spill the beans.

According to him, Mohd Zin, who was appointed to the cabinet during former Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's tenure, was allegedly involved in money laundering from a general sales agent in Bangladesh, amounting to RM25 million.

Tahir, who was one of the former minister's business partners, told reporters that he had filed a report about this with the Anti-Corruption Agency (now known as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) in 2004.

However, he claimed that the ACA did not act because Mohd Zin, who is the MP for Sepang, shared a close rapport with Abdullah.

“The ACA officers told me that they need to get the green light from Pak Lah (Abdullah) first before initiating an investigation,” he said.

'I have the evidence'

As to why he had waited six years to come out in the open, Tahir said he now had all the evidence.

Tahir said the former minister was first involved in illegal money transfer using his position as chairman of Silkways Cargo Services Limited, a Malaysia Airlines representative for ticketing and cargo in Bangladesh.

He added that the minister was not entitled to the money because he was never registered as a chairman or shareholder for the company, as required by Bangladesh's Registrar of Joint Stock Companies.

Tahir said the former minister’s relationship with the company was only based on a secret arrangement signed on Sept 18, 2000 in Kuala Lumpur but was never recognised by the Bangladesh Central Bank.

“He also never registered his name on the Board of Investment of Bangladesh that is required by all foreigners who have interests in companies in the country,” he said.

Tahir also noted that Silkways Cargo managing director in Bangladesh SK Farid Ahmed Manik, who was alleged to have transferred the money to the former minister, was arrested by Bangladeshi authorities in 2007.

“He had given his statutory declaration to the authorities and the media in the same year about his relationship with the former minister and how he had illegally transferred money to him,” he said.

Prepared to be sued

Tahir also accused the former minister of “cheating” Malaysia Airlines by providing a Directors Personal Guarantee in 2001 although “he knew that he was not the registered director for the company.”

“And how could Malaysia Airlines not know about this?” he asked, adding that the former minister’s men had tried to “bribe” him in order to keep silent.

“When he (the former minister) was contesting for a seat in the Umno supreme council in 2005, I had threatened to distribute the evidence to the delegates. I was offered money to keep quiet, but was never paid a single sen,” he said.

Tahir also stressed that he was prepared to be sued if the allegations were false, but warned, “I have all the evidence.”

Kapar MP S Manikavasagam, who was also present, urged the authorities to take action, adding that the evidence would be submitted to MACC this Thursday.

Despite numerous attempts, Mohd Zin, now the Sepang MP, could not be reached for comment. Previously, he had denied any wrongdoing.


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