Saturday 27 August 2011

FBI told to cut ties with Taib's family

Western NGOs are stepping up pressure on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to cut ties with its landlord Wallyson's Inc, linked to Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's family.

NONESwiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) and San-Francisco-based Borneo Project have written to FBI Director Robert Mueller to suspend the FBI's rental contracts for the Abraham Lincoln Building (right) in Seattle, that houses the FBI's Seattle Division headquarters and is owned by Wallyson's.

The letter also asked the bureau to ascertain if the Taib family's US investments are in line with the country's anti-money-laundering legislation, said BMF in statement on Thursday.

"While the fight against public corruption should be one of the FBI's top priorities, it is renting premises from the Taib family, one of South East Asia's largest corruption networks.

“We are seriously concerned that the FBI appears to be unduly backing the Taib family and its illicit foreign assets", wrote BMF.

The letter to Mueller was copied to a number of US government agencies and top politicians, including secretary of state Hillary Clinton, treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, attorney general Eric Holder and the judiciary committees of congress who oversee the FBI.

BMF says anti-Taib NGOs had approached the FBI in March and protested in front of their Seattle headquarters over the Sarawak CM's alleged illegal activities, adding that the bureau had not answered their complaints and had refused to receive a delegation from the NGOs.
MACC investigating?
Wallyson's is one of five US companies that BMF has blacklisted, in a list of 44 companies worldwide released in February, for close links to Taib.
The company is a subsidiary of Sakti International Corporation, that owns an estimated US$80 million (RM258 million) in properties.
azlanWhistleblower website Sarawak Report claims that San Francisco Superior Court documents show that Sakti was initially managed by Mahmud Abu Bekir, Taib's eldest son, when it was established in 1987.
Sarawak Report says in 2006, Taib's son-in-law Sean Murray, married to eldest daughter Jamilah Hamidah, took control of managing Sakti.
It adds that all the original Sakti shareholders were related to Taib - his children Mahmud Abu Bekir, Jamilah Hamidah and Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, as well as his brothers Onn and Arip.
In June, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) told the press they had started the investigationpresumably on Taib, but had refused to divulge any details.

The country's longest-serving chief minister has been accused of power abuse and corruption. Several reports had been lodged against him but the MACC has been tight-lipped about its probe.

Opposition veteran Lim Kit Siang, however, questioned the anti-graft body's statement and commitment as vague and inconclusive.
“Is 'gathering more information' tantamount to a corruption investigation under the MACC Act 2009, or is it an activity which can be outsourced to any research organisation?” Lim asked sarcastically.

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