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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sharizat’s case closed, Azmin’s case re-opened


May 31, 2012 
 
The MACC review panel clears the minister of any wrongdoing in the NFC scandal, and at the same time, recommends that the PKR deputy president's case be re-investigated.
 
KUALA LUMPUR:  The MACC operations review panel has cleared former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil of any links with regard to the National Feedlot Centre scandal, in which her husband and children have been implicated.
On another matter, the panel ordered the case against PKR deputy president Azmin Ali to be re-opened based on the fresh information received.

As for Shahrizat’s case, panel chairperson Hadenan Abdul Jalil said: “The panel found that she was not involved in awarding the project to the company (headed by her husband Mohamed Salleh Ismail) and the (government’s) RM250 million loan (for NFC).”

And on Azmin’s case, the MACC reviews panel said that in light of the new evidence produced by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, including confidential documents, it had recommended that the case be re-investigated.

Earlier this week, Raja Petra had disclosed several confidential documents which implicated Azmin in corrupt practices in 1995 when he had served as Anwar Ibrahim’s political aide.

After Raja Petra’s exposure, former Anti-Corruption Agency director-general Shafee Yahaya said that following the findings of a probe in 1997, he recommended to then deputy prime minister Anwar to take disciplinary action against Azmin.

MACC’s investigation head Mustafa Ali had told reporters today that the commission might record statements from Anwar and Azmin over the matter.

Raja Petra had said a retired MACC officer had handed him files that showed that the then ACA  had gathered concrete evidence to arrest and prosecute Azmin for corruption.

He alleged that the file was marked ‘no further action’ by Shafee on instructions from Anwar, a charge which Shafee denied.

Azmin was alleged to have receved a monthly stipend of RM15,000 from Berjaya Group tycoon Vincent Tan.
Other files are paper trails showing Azmin and wife, Shamsidar Taharin, owning shares, houses and cars totalling RM1.5 million and about RM10 million in cash.

Sand scandal case closed

At the press conference today, Hadenan admitted that it might be difficult to unearth new evidence given that the case is 17 years old.

However, he vowed that investigations will be fair and would only be based on “solid proof”. He said MACC does not rule out Shafee being be called up to assist in the fresh probe.

Mustafa said that MACC was studying if allegations against Azmin, which the ACA could not find any wrongdoings then, could be investigated under new provisions of the current MACC Act.

Meanwhile, Hadenan said that they have decided to close investigations into allegations of sand theft syndicates in Selangor involving Sri Muda state assemblyperson Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei and Batu Caves state assemblyperson Amirudin Shari.

In February, the panel had recommended that the case be re-opened following allegations by Raja Petra that the duo allegedly colluded with a well-heeled contractor with regard to sand mining operations in the state.

Raja Petra claimed that the contractor forked out cash assistance to Mat Suhaimi for his programmes while Amirudin had provided a supporting letter to Double Dignity Sdn Bhd, the sand mining company belonging to the contractor.

“The legal division, after re-looking at the files, held the same view they did previously – that it needed no further action,” said Hadenan.

The panel is an independent one formed by several people appointed by the government to re-look and review the decision of the A-G. The PPO members are specialists and professionals appointed by the prime minister.

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