Monday, 5 November 2012

Rafizi pushes MACC to probe Nazri, wants minister to go on leave - Zurairi AR

Rafizi (in brown) said Nazri had vicariously cleared Chia 
by giving Musa Aman a clean bill of health in Parliament.
PUTRAJAYA, Nov 5 ― Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was today urged to take a leave of absence from the Cabinet by Rafizi Ramli, after the PKR strategy director reported to anti-graft investigators the minister’s alleged conflict of interest involving investigations into a RM40 million political donation for Sabah Umno.
 Last week, the de facto law minister admitted to personally knowing timber trader Michael Chia ― the person at the centre of a murky RM40 million “donation” to Umno Sabah ― but denied any conflict of interest in his alleged defence of the man in Parliament as he had neither investigated nor cleared the man of corruption.

The minister pointed out that he had been the one to answer questions on Chia and the latter’s alleged links to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman as it was his duty as de facto law minister.

But Rafizi argued today that Nazri’s position as law minister posed a conflict of interest in the investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Comission (MACC) as the agency falls under his purview.

Rafizi told reporters today before lodging a report with the MACC against Nazri that the alleged conflict of interest involved both investigations of the RM40 billion “political donation” received by Umno Sabah, and Nazri’s alleged link to businessman Michael Chia through his son Nedim.

“Unlike Datuk Seri Shahrizat (Abdul Jalil) before this, Datuk Nazri is responsible for MACC himself,” the PKR Director of Strategy said.

“When MACC opens a file against Datuk Seri Nazri ... he will be investigated by a body which reports back to him.”

At a separate press conference last week, Rafizi had drawn links between Nazri’s family and Chia by furnishing photographic evidence showing that the minister’s son, Nedim, has been using a RM500,000 Hummer 4WD bearing the registration number WNX 9776 belonging to the Sabah businessman.

Rafizi told reporters today that his revelation against Nedim was a consequence of the original investigation into the “political donation”.

“Datuk Seri Nazri tried to sweep the issue under the carpet, he hasn’t given any plausible answer up until now, that is why the issue of Hummer and so on has come up.”

Despite lodging the report today, Rafizi insisted that his investigation on the matter will continue parallel to MACC’s.

“I think two brains, two sets of people looking at it is best.

“The onus is [on] MACC to compete with us (to see) who can resolve the question first.”

Chia was recently cleared of graft allegations involving Musa after local and Hong Kong anti-graft authorities reportedly found that the RM40 million he was accused of attempting to smuggle to Malaysia was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno and not for the chief minister’s personal use.

According to previous reports, Chia was arrested in Hong Kong in 2008 for attempting to smuggle the cash back to Malaysia. At the time, he had reportedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money was meant for Musa, alerting them to kick off investigations against both men.

Rafizi had insisted last week that Nazri, who recently declared himself the “No. 1 law minister”, may be guilty of corruption as he had been the sole minister who told Parliament recently that Musa was cleared of corruption.

By announcing Musa’s innocence, Rafizi explained, Nazri had effectively cleared Chia as well, despite failing to provide details of the probe against both men, either by the MACC or Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

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