KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) said today it was appalled with the government’s conclusion that “no element of corruption was proven” in its investigation of Datuk Musa Aman for the alleged illegal channelling of money to the Sabah chief minister which investigators found was meant for Umno and not the politician.
The anti-graft watchdog urged the authorities today to ensure a full disclosure of the political contribution, amounting to a reported RM40 million that was smuggled into Malaysia from Hong Kong.
Yesterday, Parliament was told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had cleared Musa (picture) of graft and money-laundering allegations after finding that the over S$16 million (RM40 million) allegedly channelled to the Sabah chief minister through corrupt means was meant for Sabah Umno’s use.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had shelved the matter after finding no element of corruption in the case, which was first raised by whistleblower site Sarawak Report earlier this year.
“The written response of Datuk Seri Nazri raises many serious questions on the transparency and accountability of party finances. TI-M has been urging the government to regulate political financing in Malaysia.
“Datuk Seri Nazri has stated that the funds were contributions to the Sabah Umno liaison body. He further stated that the MACC has concluded that “no element of corruption was proven” in the case. However, the MACC must investigate if corruption was a factor in the political contribution of RM40 million,” TI-M Secretary-General Josie Fernandez said in a statement today.
She said TI-M was pressing for the full disclosure of the source of the RM40 million as a “political contribution” to Sabah Umno because “absolute transparency is essential in political contributions to rule out the possibility of influence peddling in the political process.”
“Money politics contributes to the cancer of corruption. Political corruption is the mother of all corruption. TI-M calls on the government to regulate political financing and for the immediate and full disclosure in the financing of politics in the country,” she said.
In April this year, Sarawak Report had revealed documents allegedly from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) showing that a Sabah lawyer was holding some US$30 million in a Swiss bank account for Musa.
The report also claimed that a paper trail showed that the millions in euro as well as US, Hong Kong and Singapore dollars had been channelled from several firms managed by Hong Kong-based timber trader Michael Chia to a number of British Virgin Island companies and subsequently to the lawyer’s Swiss account.
Musa has since denied any link with Chia, who was arrested and charged with money laundering after attempting to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) back to Malaysia in 2008.
According to media reports, Chia had at the time allegedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.
Musa had previously accused Sarawak Report of defaming him, claiming the graft allegations were likely part of a conspiracy by his detractors who wanted to topple Barisan Nasional (BN) in the east Malaysian state.
He had said he would offer full co-operation to the authorities if he was required to but stressed that in the meantime, his focus was on serving the state instead of “entertaining these frivolous allegations”.