By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 20, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 ― Putrajaya has confirmed that Datuk Musa Aman was only cleared of corruption after Malaysian graftbusters told Hong Kong authorities that a RM40-million cash contribution allegedly meant for the Sabah chief minister was a “political donation” to Umno.
De facto law minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told The Malaysian Insider that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) probe on Musa was initiated after Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) requested for information on the issue.
He said the ICAC had asked for MACC’s co-operation after Sabah timber trader Michael Chia was arrested and charged with money laundering in 2008 for attempting to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) out of Hong Kong.
According to media reports, Chia had at the time told Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.
“MACC agreed to co-operate with its Hong Kong counterparts and found that the money in question was not for Musa’s personal use.
“The agency then reported back to ICAC with the information and the Hong Kong authority decided to drop the matter and pull its complaint from the Swiss court,” Nazri told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.
The minister was asked to respond to DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang’s accusation that he had been giving conflicting reports to Parliament on which anti-graft authority ― Malaysia’s or Hong Kong’s ― had first cleared Musa of graft.
In a statement yesterday, Lim had demanded a full disclosure and chronology of events leading to Musa’s name being cleared, raising suspicion over whether Malaysia had tampered with the graft case to save the Umno leader from a graft charge.
Lim pointed out that Nazri had at first told Parliament that it was Malaysia’s Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) that had absolved Musa, based on findings from MACC’s investigation on the matter.
The minister also said that the ICAC had pulled its Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (MACMA) application from Switzerland’s courts after finding that the RM40 million was meant for Sabah Umno and not Musa’s personal use.
But when speaking on the issue in the Dewan Rakyat again on Thursday, Nazri had told House that it was ICAC that had first cleared Musa, even telling opposition parliamentarians to refer their queries to the Hong Kong agency if they were dissatisfied with the decision.
Lim said that Nazri had “tied himself up in contradictions” and demanded the minister clarify which agency ― MACC, the AGC or Hong Kong’s ICAC ― had cleared Musa’s name, as well as the chronology of events.
Among others, Lim said Nazri should disclose details on when the MACC had completed its probe and submitted its papers to the AGC, when the AGC declared the matter closed and whether the MACC had agreed to its opinion.
He added that the minister should also reveal when the ICAC had completed its probe and decided to pull its case from the Swiss courts.
“Many questions cry out for answer on the RM40 million ‘smuggled’ cash from Hong Kong to Malaysia, ending up as donation to Sabah Umno, which Nazri should clear in Parliament on Monday,” the senior DAP lawmaker said.
When asked when the AGC had stepped in to declare Musa innocent, however, Nazri told The Malaysian Insider that he was unsure.
“I think it’s best that you ask the AGC on that. I am not clear as to whether the AGC cleared Musa after ICAC dropped the case or before,” he said.
Yesterday, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had dismissed allegations by the opposition that the RM40 million had been “smuggled” into Malaysia. He had previously defended the donation, but refused to divulge details on the source of the funds.