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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NFC scandal: PKR leader flays Bank Negara


Rafizi Ramli criticises the central bank for practicing double standard with regard to ordering an investigation against him and the scandal's whistleblower.
PETALING JAYA: PKR leader Rafizi Ramli has urged the central bank not to practice double standard in its investigation into his alleged breach of a banking laws.
The party strategic director said the central bank should also probe National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) chairman Salleh Ismail for alleged money laundering.
“While I respect the responsibility of Bank Negara to order an investigation, I also fear that the pressure placed on me and Johari Mohamad is aimed at covering up the NFCorp scandal,” he told a press conference here.
Johari was the primary whistleblower in the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre scandal.
“I am also perplexed as to why Bank Negara is not probing or taking any action against Salleh and his family who blatantly transferred public funds illegally to family-linked companies in Singapore and Kazakhstan,” he added.
Rafizi had been summoned to the central bank today to be questioned under Section 87 of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) pertaining to disclosure of supposed confidential banking transactions related to the scandal.
NFCorp also filed a civil suit against Public Bank for loss of reputation as a result of an alleged breach of its security that resulted in the private banking information of NFC, its chairman and related companies being “exposed to the world at large.”
The information purportedly leaked by the bank gave Rafizi the information to “dramatise” the issue by “distorting” facts, the company claimed.
Intimidation tactic
The PKR leader claimed the probe was politically motivated and an intimidation tactic aimed at silencing whistleblowers from coming out to reveal corruption involving top government leaders.
Today he reiterated the accusation and said the investigation gave the impression that the authorities were “against the proactive action of the public” to expose the widespread graft and abuse of power.
The hypocrisy, he charged, was blatant when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had yet to take action against high-ranking figures involved in the awarding of the NFC contract.
Rafizi also claimed in the past that Salleh, the husband of former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, was still milking the national cattle-breeding project through office lots rented to the NFCorp despite Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the company’s assets had been frozen to assist investigations.
The PKR leader had led the charge in exposing the alleged abuse of funds meant for the NFC, including the purchase of luxury properties and premium land worth some RM70 million.
Najib subsequently announced a probe on the scandal while Shahrizat’s senatorship was discontinued in a move aimed at containing a potential voter backlash.
Salleh is now under police investigation for criminal breach of trust. He had denied the allegations. Also involved in the fiasco were the couple’s children.

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