Why is Upko not named in MACC’s civil forfeiture, asks Sabah Umno

Sabah Umno Youth chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno has slammed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for being selective over the civil forfeiture applications against 41 individuals and entities, including the party’s state chapter.

Its Youth chief, Abdul Aziz Julkarnain, claimed the move by MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya, in her first big move, since taking over the anti-graft body, was politically motivated.

He said, however, this was expected by many quarters who had questioned her appointment.

“Unfortunately, MACC was unprofessional and biased when it excluded a government party like Upko from the list of respondents who allegedly received money from 1MDB.

“As an important institution, which is expected to have utmost integrity, the MACC should not have taken this selective approach, causing the people to lose its trust on them,” he said here today.

Aziz was referring to Upko’s bank account being frozen by the MACC since the change of government last year and that it cannot pay back the RM1 million it allegedly received from former prime minister Najib Razak.

Its president, Wilfred Madius Tangau, had said the order came following MACC’s probe into the money the party allegedly received from Najib.

Upko, which is part of the Sabah coalition government together with Warisan, DAP and PKR, was not named as one the 41 in the list filed by MACC to recover money allegedly transferred from Najib’s account.

Latheefa had said the forfeitures, filed under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, are to recover RM270 million of 1MDB money transferred to Najib’s account and later to the individuals and entities.

She added the biggest recipients of the money were Umno divisions and branches, which received RM212 million.

Aziz also questioned why Latheefa was in a hurry to file the forfeiture application since Attorney-General Tommy Thomas himself was not ready to proceed with the 1MDB charges in court when he applied for postponements, giving the excuse that he wanted to focus on the SRC International case.

This means that MACC has probed this case and failed to charge any recipient on criminal grounds, he said, adding that, hence, the chief commissioner, a former PKR Supreme Council member, has chosen this forfeiture approach.

As such, Sabah Umno dared Latheefa to look into and re-open cases involving her former Pakatan Harapan colleagues, naming nine high-profile cases. He said this was necessary to maintain MACC’s integrity and professionalism.

Among others, they are:

1. The claim of corruption and abuse of power by Lim Guan Eng in the undersea tunnel project when he was the Penang chief minister;

2. Claim of abuse of public funds for rural development projects worth some RM1.5 billion, between 2009 and 2015, when Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdl was the minister;

3. Claims of vote buying during Warisan’s recent party elections;

4. Claims of discrepancies in membership matters as well as vote buying during the last PKR elections;

5. A corruption case involving the purchase of Merdeka Palace Kuching;

6. The suspicious purchase of a bungalow by the former Penang CM; and,

7. Claims of contract monopoly by the son of Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi;

Aziz claimed the responses from MACC on these cases were either that they were still under investigation or that there is no further action.

“To show her capabilities and integrity, the new MACC chief should focus on these cases and let the public know of their outcome,” he said.