As more and more tumbles out all over the place about how the rats occupying the lower rungs of UMNO have been raiding public funds, a till now barely reported issue has just slipped out in the Australian media.
Today, whilst detailing how the ex-chairman of the fund for the rural poor MARA has been exposed for stealing millions of dollars from his own fund (what’s new?), the Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that his boss Najib is also implicated in a major corruption case that has been made subject to a “suppression order” by a local Australian court.
According to the Herald article today:
The AFP [Australian Federal Police] has significant intelligence implicating Malaysian Prime Minister Razak in corruption connected to an unrelated corruption probe that is subject to a Victorian court suppression order.
Given the rampant corruption associated with Najib Razak, Malaysians have every right to demand to know what is going on and why the Australian court has seen fit to cover up a corruption case involving their prime minister?
The context for this revelation has been the unravelling story of corrupt property purchases involving Malaysian government funds, which have been the hallmark of Najib’s period of government and in itself an appalling scandal.
Suddenly, in an apparent policy switch by the Malaysian Government after Najib took power, vast chunks of money from the country’s savings funds have been diverted into foreign property ‘investments’ at hugely inflated prices. Every time, in a totally indefensible manner, these ‘investments’ have been conducted through shadowy intermediaries off-shore, making the transactions utterly opaque and enabling the ultimate beneficiaries to be disguised.
There is currently a growing global campaign to ban the off-shore finance industry altogether, given that its primary purpose is to facilitate crime by hiding the details of transactions and the ownership of companies and accounts, whose holders either ought not to be rich or want to avoid tax – usually both.
There is certainly no excuse whatsoever for any form of government transaction involving public money to use off-shore instruments of this kind.
The Malaysian property transactions encouraged by the Najib administration provide ample proof why the practice should be banned, with the MARA story in Australia just one example.
Today’s Herald report details how information gained from the so-called Paradise Papers reveals how millions of dollars were filtched from the purchase of the MARA building in Melbourne and ended up in the MARA chairman’s account.
Firstly, officials working for the head of MARA organised for the building to be deliberately over-valued by a local estate agent in KL. The owner of the Swanston Street building had it on the market for $21.5 million, whereas the MARA officials got the KL estate agent to price it to themselves at $41.8 million:
The transaction freed up $18.3 million which rightly belonged to Malaysian taxpayers and which was meant to be used to help the country’s development. Instead it was distributed among the conspirators.
The Panama Papers and other leaked files reveal that corrupt Malaysian officials tied to the ruling Umno party of Prime Minister Najib Razak, including senior political figure Mohammad Lan Allani, are behind both the property scam and offshore companies,
says the Sydney Morning Herald. Mohammad Lan Allani was the Chairman of MARA. What the Paradise Papers have revealed is that the missing money was chanelled into off-shore companies owned at least in part by Allani.
..according to bank transfers recently analysed by anti-corruption investigators, Mr Allani’s personal bank account was paid $3.2 million in kickbacks shortly after the $41.8 million left Malaysian government coffers.
When asked in 2015 about another corrupt deal, Mr Allani said he couldn’t recall them, and was only involved in setting up offshore companies in tax havens as a “convenient” way of selling property bought by the Malaysian government. When questioned about his knowledge of any alleged kickbacks, the former politician hung up the phone.
Who else benefitted from these missing millions belonging to the Malaysian people is yet to emerge. However, Malaysians are free to guess and they know that this particular property transaction is just one of numerous similar inflated foreign buy-ups using public money funnelled through secret off-shore companies.
Malaysians also know that corruption is a phenomenon that begins and ends at the very top. Which is the reason why instead of charging all these flunkeys Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Najib Razak has been doing his best to say that all is in order and nothing is wrong and allowing investigations to drift on year after year before being closed down.
It is therefore of the utmost urgency that the Australian courts address this strange and unusual use of a suppression order to hide a corruption case that allegedly involves this Prime Minister, whose lengthy reputation preceeds him.
Meanwhile, it is worth bearing in mind that Malaysians are currently being barraged with claims that former Prime Minister Mahathir, currently leading the opposition in its fight to win the election and release the imprisoned opposition leader in waiting, was ‘as bad as Najib himself’.
Yet, when Mahathir left office, funds set up for the benefit of rural and retired Malaysians still contained billions of dollars worth of savings, whereas from the moment Najib took office those funds have been raided and rapidly depleted by deliberate thefts of this nature.
There are powerful lobbyists with political connections who are supporting Najib in both Britain and Australia, thanks to all this dirty money. However, the people of Malaysia derserve to know the truth from the Australian authorities.