Moggie told Parliament yesterday that the contract for the supply of switchboards was awarded through open tender advertised on Jan 18, 1991 in accordance with conditions set by the Finance Ministry. The tender was closed on April 23, 1991 with nine applications and Mitsui was not one of them.
The Minister said the company which won the bid was decided by the Finance Ministry in 1992. He said the allegations of Mitsui’s kickbacks to Telekom Malaysia was under investigation by the ACA and it was best to wait for the results instead of making assumptions.
I agree that no one should prejudge Asahi Shimbun allegations of RM10.6 million Mitsui kickbacks to Telekom Malaysia until the outcome of investigations, but Moggie had acted most irresponsibily in not briefing Parliament the full details about the switchboard contract and in particular, why Mitsui was awarded the contract although it was not one of the nine companies which had taken part in the open tender.
Whether the reason why Mitsui was given the contract although it was not one of the nine companies which responded to the open tender amounted to corruption such as the allegations of RM10.6 million kickbacks will have to await investigations, but on the files and records, there must be reason why there was such an extraordinary departure from proper tender practices as to give a contract to a company which never took part in the open tender.
If Moggie does not have any information as to why Mitsui was given the contract although it was not one of the nine companies which submitted open tenders, then something is terribly rotten with the system of governance in Malaysia where Finance Ministry regulations on open tender could be flouted with impunity.
While awaiting the outcome of investigations into the allegations of kickbacks, Moggie should make a more fulsome and frank statement in Parliament on the Telekom switchboard contract, such as the identity of the nine companies which took part in the open tender, their respective quotations, how Mitsui came into the picture and details of its bid.
From Moggie’s revelations, the Telecommunications Minister at the time of the Telekom switchboard contract was Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who should also give a statement in Parliament on his role and what he knew about the kickbacks allegations.
Yesterday, Telekom chief executive, Datuk Wira Mohamed Said Mohamed said Telekom Malaysia will only consider meeting top Japan's Mitsui and Co officials after the completion of its own internal investigation into the kickbacks allegation.
He said subsequent follow-up measures to be taken by the company would proceed from the outcome of its investigation.
This statement has thrown doubt as to whether the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigation team into the kickbacks allegation had actually interrogated two senior executives from Mitsui in Tokyo as claimed publicly by the ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Zaki Hussein in an exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday.
Could two senior executives from Mitsui head office in Tokyo come to Malaysia and co-operated with the ACA on the kickbacks allegations and yet did not meet the Telekom Malaysia which is also undertaking an investigation into the matter? Or did the two Mitsui senior executives from Japan come to Kuala Lumpur and met with the Telekom Malaysia officers but which Telekom Malaysia did not want to admit?
The ACA director-general should identify who are the two Mitsui senior executives from Tokyo who had been assisting the ACA in its investigations.
Mohamad Said’s statement is also at odds with the comment by the Telekom Malaysia executive director and chief operating officer, Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Daud who told the New Straits Times last Wednesday that Telekom Malaysia had no further comment as the matter was now in the hands of the Anti-Corruption Agency, indicating that all the investigaton would now be conducted by the ACA.
Moggie should enlighten Parliament as to whether there is only one investigation into the kickbacks allegations by ACA or whether two separate investigations are going on at the same time, and if there is also a Telekom Malaysia investigation, who are the officers conducting the investigation.