RM50 million Pempena scandals – another 3 questions for Azalina

Yesterday, I posed three questions on the RM50 million Pempena Group of Companies scandals for the Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman to answer in Parliament this week during the 2008 Budget committee stage debate on her Ministry since the non-functioning Pempena Executive Chairman Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun has clamped up and refused to accept accountability.

Today, I am posing another three questions, giving her adequate notice to prepare for a full and adequate accounting in Parliament to show that as Minister for Tourism, she is fully aware of her responsibilities to live up to the principles of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance although there are “Little Napoleons” in the Pempena Group of Companies who behave as if public funds are their private property which they need not account to anyone.

These additional three questions are:

Question No. 4 – Did she as Tourism Minister receive a request dated 15th October 2008 made jointly by the Pempena Executive Chairman Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun and the Pempena Chief Executive Officer Datuk Idrus Mohd for a RM5 million injection to keep Pempena afloat, although Chew had publicly denied that there was any such application. What is the Tourism Ministry’s position on the latest appeal by Pampena for an annual RM5 million life-line capital injection for the next two years to ensure Pempena’s continuous viability?

Question No. 5 – Two weeks ago, Azalina pledged from London that “there would be no cover-up of the goings-on in Pempena” and that those who had “cheated the government in any way” would be “severely dealt with”.

Let Azalina inform Parliament how many people implicated in the RM50 million Pempena scandals had actions taken against them, whether disciplinary action or the institution of criminal or civil proceedings.

In particular, why no action had been taken against the Pempena official responsible for grave criminal offence of tampering and falsification of minutes of meetings of the Pempena Board of Directors, involving matters like the appointment of contractors. This serious offence took place under two former Pempena Chairman, Datuk Kee Phaik Chin and Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

No action was taken against such a grave criminal offence even in the past three months after this was confirmed by the internal audit submitted to the new Pempena executive chairman, Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun more than three months ago. Can both Kee and Chor throw light on this serious crime during their chairmanship of Pempena?

Question No. 6 – Azalina had in London (reported by the New Straits Times 12th November 2008) had expressed shock and sadness that “so much money had been invested in Pempena but the companies that promised profits did not deliver”, asking where all the RM11 million invested in the taxi company, Pempena Executive Taxi (PETS), went to as the company has even failed to pay the hire purchase loan for the taxi instalments.

She also cited the financial woes of the various projects under the Malaysian Kitchen programme.

However the review into these selected Pempana companies conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers Capital Sdn. Bh(PwhC) specifically excluded “any investigative audit or forensics work” but merely “a high-level business review”.

Who was responsible for the decision to specifically exclude PwhC from its terms of reference any investigative audit or forensics work to uncover fraud, irregularities and improprieties in the Pempena group of Companies and was this part of a “cover-up” to perpetuate the culture of impunity in the bureaucracy?

As the Pempena executive chairmd PwhC from any investigative audit or forensics work, Azalina should tell all in Parliament.

  1. #1 by Kathy on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 7:12 am

    The Tourism Ministry should give a full statement on what Pempena group of companies should be contributing to the ministry, who are its board of directors (what they are suppose to be contributing to the organisation), etc….. Merely explaining that the ventures under its organization are not bearing fruits as it was suppose to be do not cut it.

    I for one wants to know CMF has contributed as Executive Chairman of Pempena. To receive RM10K a month is alot of money in doing nothing at all. No business plan to help Malaysia grow? If not, she should just leave and return all the monies that she has taken thus far.

  2. #2 by OrangRojak on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 7:53 am

    I would have thought one of the next few questions, since PwhC have found the dead body, is to discover “whodunnit”. Is an audit now under way? Will the results be made public?

  3. #3 by veddy.lum74 on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 9:00 am

    wat happen to phucklah,he was the minister of finance,he shud be responsible for dis scandal too!if he didnt approve the fund,who the hell was?
    dat’s wat i always say,dis sleeping phucking idiot is having a big share for all corruptions!otherwise,how to bribe all the division umno heads to proceed his nomination as president again for another term?anyway,he was turned-down by najis and muhydin later!

  4. #4 by veddy.lum74 on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 9:08 am

    mahatiu said gomen willing to spend billion of dollars to promote 3000 malay entrepreneurs,but only 300 interested to join the seminars,after dat,only 3 person engaged in business and not very long,closed-down!THE PROGRAMME WAS COMPLETELY FAILED!!!

    UMNO cant waste public fund to promote business,by all means,use only your own fund!!!

    misconduct of public funds was not news,how many cases have happened?why no machanism to prevent dis type of scandals to keep-on repeating?ACA shud be accountable for all dis corruptions!

  5. #5 by veddy.lum74 on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 9:10 am

    sorry,typing error,it’s mechanism.

  6. #6 by hongkie123 on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 9:34 am

    On PwC’s report is it not surprising that only High Level Review is done. Investigative audit by PwC would be:-
    – very time consuming;
    – expensive (where do you think the word “Price” comes from?);
    – report contains lots of caveats

    Not many organizations want an investigative audit and only select few professional auditors are competent to do it. Having said that, over the years there have been many investigative audit done by the big audit firms as well as those done by internal auditors. But how many cases of successful prosecutions that we have seen? Frauds are careful steps taken and therefore to uncover frauds, it is very difficult. What more successful prosecution.

    Anyway, in many organizations, many heads would have rolled had RM50 mil been mismanaged. I posted in Dr Chua Soi Lek’s blog asking why Chew Mei Fun was not keen to take actions on the mismanagement but todate there is no no words from Chew Mei Fun on what she wants to do. Will the government change for the better? Unlikely it seems.

  7. #7 by jedyoong on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 9:59 am

    CMF such a disgrace to Kuen Cheng. Who will feed her? If she does a shoddy job, she should be sacked. On YB/DAP employing her, it’s probably better to invest in junk bonds in the current economic climate.

  8. #8 by motomoto on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 10:00 am

    She will evade your questions and come out with some other dumb answers. Standard what!

  9. #9 by k1980 on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 11:19 am

    RM5 million injection to keep Pempena afloat is not enough. Najib will have to get EPF to give another RM5 billion loan to pempena

  10. #10 by melurian on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 1:20 pm

    “If she does a shoddy job, she should be sacked”

    this is malaysia where we have compassion. if you take away her 10k/mth pempena job, she has to sell her house in bukit jelutong and she will have no place to stay! you like that, forcing ppl homeless ??

    shame on dap for being so ruthless …..

  11. #11 by Kathy on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 3:49 pm

    It is not ruthless to sack someone that is not performing up to par in terms of work. It is a fact of life.

    She wont be homeless if she ever has to sell her house in bukit jelutong (she will get money and can buy a smaller onelah!) or she can move in with her parents or relatives.

  12. #12 by Yee Siew Wah on Monday, 24 November 2008 - 4:35 pm

    The MCA bums are all crooks who only look after their own interests. They claim they “represent” the chinese. Yes, representing their wallets.
    This lady CMF got the cheek to a 10 grand, repeat 10 grand salary for the way she behaved and talked make her so stupid and greedy. Chairman or chairwoman whatever. To me, she just fit to be a lady cleaner by the roadside stalls. She is also a disgrace to Kuen Cheng.

  13. #13 by walao on Wednesday, 26 November 2008 - 12:23 am

    For a person who took 10k per month, how thick face she is , still denying her shoddy work whick lead to so much money lost . Melurian says

    “this is malaysia where we have compassion. if you take away her 10k/mth pempena job, she has to sell her house in bukit jelutong and she will have no place to stay! you like that, forcing ppl homeless ??

    shame on dap for being so ruthless …..”

    I wonder if all bank executive chairmans did what CMF did… I wonder whether she still so naive or not.

    Melurian, I know you either too naive or too anti-dap or too sentimental, but what CMF did cannot be excused or get off easily. If all fund managers/bankers lost all our money, you will regret what you have commented.

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