In the spotlight — for the wrong reasons

A spiderweb of corruption and dirty money in the billions within the highest ranks of govt

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by TMR File

KEEPING the house clean is not an easy task, but it needs to be done to ensure that everything is in order.

The promise for a “cleaner Malaysia” remains on top of the government’s list of priorities, and the “cleansing” began as early as a few days after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th General Election, when the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) report was officially declassified.

On the following day, the police was given the order to search former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s house.

The series of raids at his houses was like opening Pandora’s box, leading to various other revelations involving many other prominent figures.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya recently said a total of RM919 million of assets related to 1MDB have been recovered to date, including funds recouped from Red Granite Pictures and millions of dollars received from the stake sale in New York’s Park Lane Hotel.

Apart from 1MDB-related cases, other equally shocking discoveries and disclosures were reported. Here are some of the big names who are hitting the limelight — for the wrong reasons, that is.

Ahmad Zahid leads with 87 counts of corruption and money laundering charges.

Former Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is topping the chart on the list of politicians who are currently facing embezzlement charges, with 87 counts in total.

In the latest development, he claimed trial to another 33 counts of charges under the MACC Act for bribery worth RM42.76 million related to the overseas visa system and One Stop Centre in China.

Of the charges, 19 counts have alleged that Ahmad Zahid accepted cash bribes amounting to S$6.7 million (RM20.5 million) from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd between October 2014 and September 2016.

Ahmad Zahid is also said to have received monthly deposits of at least S$200,000 from Ultra Kirana during the two-year period, except for March and July in 2015 and February, April and June in 2016.

The Umno president is also due to stand trial for corruption with seven new charges involving S$4.24 million.

Previously, he had pleaded not guilty to 47 charges for criminal breach of trust (CBT), corruption and money laundering.

Of the 47 charges, 12 are CBT involving some RM21 million of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi, a foundation he headed, eight graft charges for RM21.25 million and 27 money laundering charges amounting to RM72 million.

Former PM faces 42 charges and is to start 1MDB trial soon.

Najib, who is currently on trial for his batch of offences involving embezzlement of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds, faces a total of 42 charges.

Najib, the main figure being linked to the world’s biggest financial heist, will begin the hearings on his charges on 1MDB on Aug 19, 2019.

The Pekan MP has consistently denied wrongdoing and said the charges against him are politically motivated.

Rosmah charged for 19 counts of bribery and money laundering.

The wife Mansor, pleaded not guilty to a total of 19 criminal charges

for bribery and money laundering. She was said to have requested RM187.5 million and received RM1.5 million from a solar power firm in Sarawak, who supplies power to more than 300 rural schools.

Rosmah is also being charged for receiving RM5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd MD Saidi Abang Samsudin via her aide Datuk Rizal Mansor.

She was allegedly given the money to assist Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd to obtain a similar solar project through direct negotiation with the Ministry of Education.

Rosmah, 67, claims she is also not guilty of five charges of failing to declare income to the Inland Revenue Board.

Najib’s stepson pleads not guilty to five charges.

Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, fresh from the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, has been charged with five counts of money laundering for US$248.17 million

(RM1.18 billion) belonging to 1MDB. The series of transactions were said to have taken place between April 12, 2011, and Nov 14, 2012, through his production house, Red Granite Pictures. Riza is the third family member charged after being quizzed numerous times by the MACC since July last year, nearly a month after his mother was grilled by the graft-buster.

Former Sabah CM is hit with 51 corruption charges.

Former Sabah Chief Minister (CM) Tan Sri Musa Aman was slapped with a total of 51 charges of money laundering and corruption for his illegal activities from more than 10 years ago.

Among others, Musa was said to have instructed a Sabah lawyer, Richard Christopher Barnes, to open an account at UBS AG Bank in Singapore with the intention to receive illegal proceeds, conceal Musa’s identity as the recipient and transfer all the assets in the account to him.

In May, he claimed trial to 16 counts of money laundering charges involving US$37.8 million and S$2.5 million, amounting to a total of RM160 million.

The money laundering charges are in addition to 35 counts of graft charges that he had pleaded not guilty to last year, amounting to US$63 million linked to timber concessions in Sabah.

Baling MP faces 12 charges.

Baling MP and former chairman of Lembaga Tabung Haji Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim was slapped with a total of 12 charges of bribery and money laundering, involving kickbacks from road projects in Kedah and Perak.

He is facing three charges of bribery worth RM5.2 million for assisting a company gaining a contract from the Ministry of Works, and nine charges of money laundering for RM139.3 million.