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PKR wants RCI on George Kent saga

 | August 2, 2012

The panel will have full authority to probe the prime minister in the award of contract for the Ampang LRT project, says strategy director Rafizi Ramli.

PETALING JAYA: PKR demanded today Putrajaya set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the alleged abuse of power by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in the award of the contract for controversial Ampang LRT line extension project.

Party strategy director Rafizi Ramli said Najib has yet to deny all the allegations raised by him in the past, which he said proved clearly that the George Kent consortium, whose owner is said to be the premier’s “golf buddy”, received preferential treatment.

Rafizi, who is now building his reputation as the opposition’s main whistleblower with his series of exposé on several scandals, said the RCI is needed following the failure by the police to act on allegations of power abuse involving top government leaders.

“The allegations and questions raised can only be unravelled through a RCI which has full authority to probe the prime minister,” he told a press conference at the party’s headquarters here.

On Tuesday, Syarikat Prasarana Bhd (Prasarana), the project and asset owner for the LRT Line Extension Project (LEP), confirmed in a statement that the contract had been given to a George Kent-Lion Pacific joint venture.

Direct interference

The project’s value was not stated but the firm disclosed that it would be below the RM7 billion ceiling.

Through a series of exposé, Rafizi showed leaked official documents indicating possible power abuse in the contract award process when the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had overruled earlier recommendation from Prasarana to award the contract to British engineering firm, Balfour Beatty-Invensys Consortium.

The MoF Acquisition Committee, headed by Najib, had subsequently instructed the contract to be given to George Kent, which bid far higher than what was offered by Balfour Beatty-Invensys.

The consortium, with no qualified experience for the project with its core expertise being only in water infrastructure projects, had also failed the contract’s technical and commercial evaluation.

The alleged interference by Najib in the project could also mean the prime minister can easily influence the award of contract for other mega government projects and tamper with government institutions, said Rafizi.

Witch hunt

Yesterday, Rafizi, along with another whistleblower, was detained and charged under banking laws for his exposure on the “cow-gate scandal” implicating the family of a former federal minister and subsequently released on bail.

He said today his arrest could be linked to the scandal.

The arrest was made just 24 hours before the government announced George Kent had received the contract.

Meanwhile, Rafizi also announced today the formation of the National Oversight and Whistleblowers Centre (NOW) that aims to unravel scandals involving both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional governments and protect informers.

“These people [whistleblowers] should be protected by the government but instead they are hunted, threatened and charged by the government,” he said, adding that the persecution is aimed at intimidating informers to prevent them from coming forth.

NOW will also provide legal aid to whistleblowers in case of arrest and conduct campaigns to encourage the public to come out and provide information on power abuses for public interest.


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