Bernama reported that the assets of Sarawak CM Taib Mahmud has been `frozen’ by the Swiss Anti-Corruption Agency (see report below)-which should be big news if confirmed. No source of the information was mentioned. Previously there was news of an investigation by FINMA of Taib Mahmud’s assets on suspicion of money laundering from corrupt logging trade. Previous reports also said that freezing of assets was still unlikely till a home government of the person involved request the assets freeze. But without all that there is now a news of a freezing of Taib Mahmud’s assets???? It is getting interesting! Who is behind this `upgrade’-and why???? Bernama is a federally owned news agency. Was there any request from a `home government’ to freeze Taib’s assets? Who is Bernama implicating or speaking on behalf? (Update 2 at inside page)
MACC investigates chief minister latest!
Posted on June 9, 2011, Thursday
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has confirmed that it is currently investigating Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud over allegation of timber corruption.
Its commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed said the commission was in the process of gathering more information regarding the matter.
“As I said earlier, we are investigating Taib Mahmud and whatever our action is, we cannot reveal at this moment,” he told reporters at Sime Darby Bhd’s signing and handing over corporate integrity pledge to the MACC, here today.
Abu Kassim was responding to a question on whether the MACC was looking at carrying out a similar action by the Swiss Anti Corruption Agency, which recently froze the assets of Taib Mahmud over the allegation of timber corruption.
According to a foreign news report, the Swiss Federation president Micheline Calmy-Rey was reported to be aware of the allegations and had forwarded the information about Taib’s assets in Switzerland to its regulatory body FINMA (the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) for investigation.
On monitoring mega projects, Abu Kassim said the MACC would continuously monitor these projects from time to time.
“Our responsibility is to monitor whatever project from time to time. I cannot say which project but it is our job to monitor and prevent corruption in the government,” he said when asked whether the MACC had identified other mega projects.
So far, MACC is expected to monitor three mega projects namely the 100- storey Warisan Merdeka Tower which will cost RM5 billion; the RM36 billion mass rapid transit (MRT) system and Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC) project to cost RM6.7 billion. – Bernama
Key role of the Malaysian Government
Calmy-Rey in her letter also makes clear that under international money-laundering agreements the burden remains on the Malaysian Government to make a request to Switzerland to freeze potentially illegal assets. Otherwise, countries such as Switzerland might normally be constrained to wait until Taib has been ousted.
On the other hand the Swiss President specifically refers in her letter to the recent freezing of assets belonging to the potentates of Lybia, Egypt and Tunisia, which have been possible under existing provisions of Swiss legislation.
The question is whether Najib Razak will be prepared to move against his key fundraiser? Taib dominates BN as “the tail that wags the dog” in Malaysia, because of his ability to deliver key seats through his dictatorial control over Sarawak’s “rotten” rural seats.
If Najib fails to do act, in the face of an investigation and requests by the Swiss authorities, this alone will become a contentious issue.( From: Sarawak Report)