Will ACA have to take another eight to ten years until the seventh or eighth Prime Minister to be 100 per cent complete in its investigation into the RM11 billion Perwaja Steel scandal?
- Perak DAP May Day Dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Wednesday): I am dumbfounded by the statement by the Finance Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Hashim Ismail in the Dewan Negara on Monday that the investigation into the Perwaja Steel scandal is more than “50 per cent complete”.
The immediate question Hashim should have been asked was whether the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) would have to take another eight to ten years until the seventh or eighth Prime Minister to be 100 per cent complete in its investigation into the RM11 billion Perwaja Steel scandal.
Hashim, who was winding up the debate on the 2002 Supplementary estimates, said the delay in the ACA investigation into Perwaja was due to the reluctance of financial institutions from other countries to co-operate as they wanted to safeguard the confidentiality of their clients.
Malaysians are tired of the same old explanation trotted out again and again to justify the inordinate delay and inconclusive investigations into the RM11 billion Perwaja Steel scandal, especially after the visit of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to Switzerland in June last year when the Swiss President Kasper Villinger agreed to provide access into Perwaja Steel’s financial information with a Swiss bank.
In actual fact, the Swiss government had agreed to co-operate with the ACA investigation as far back as early 2001, and Malaysians are entitled to know why there had been no breakthrough in the ACA investigation all these years.
In February 2001, the then ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Zaki Hussein announced a “breakthrough” when he said that the Swiss government had agreed to co-operate with the ACA in its investigation into the Perwaja Steel scandal, particularly in connection with the transfer of RM76.4 million to a non-existent company in Hong Kong which was finally transferred to a Swiss bank account of a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Ahmad Zaki was very hopeful in early 2001 that with the help of the Swiss authorities, “some light could be shed and ACA investigation into Perwaja could shift into full gear”.
Then mysteriously, ACA investigation into the Perwaja Steel scandal again stalled without any change of gear after Ahmad Zaki’s expected reappointment as ACA head the following month was scuttled – and he was shunted off from the ACA to another appointment.
Eight years after ACA investigation into the Perwaja Steel scandal, Malaysians are entitled to a White Paper on the status report of the RM11 billion scandal probe, whether the ACA needs another eight to ten years until the seventh or eighth Prime Minister before there is any hope of a 100 per cent completion of the colossal “heinous crime without criminals” and whether ACA is aiming for a world record in the Guinness Book of Records in the longest inconclusive corruption investigation spanning not only Prime Ministers and decades, but also centuries and millennia!
May be the time has come for an investigation to be launched into the ACA investigation into the RM11 billion Perwaja Steel scandal, as to the real reasons for the inordinate delays and inconclusive results.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman