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ACA should investigate how a Sabah politician who had been Sabah Chief Minister for two years and Federal Minister for Land and Co-operatives for four years could accumulate such astronomical wealth as to run up RM28 million debts in a London casino a year after political retirement
(Ipoh, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Osu Sukam “failed as a leader” and condemned him for “tainting and tarnishing his leadership” in the case of a London casino’s attempt to recover RM7.14 million in gambling debts from Osu.
Asked what action would be taken against Osu who was Sabah Chief Minister from 1999 to 2001, Abdullah said Sabah UMNO would decide on the matter.
Sabah UMNO, on the other hand, considered the case as Osu’s “personal matter” with the Sabah UMNO information chief Datuk Rahim Ismail declaring: “This is a matter between Osu and the law”. (Star 7.7.05)
However, more important than whether Osu had “failed as a leader” and the “matter between Osu and the law” is the great public interest issue of the failure of the national and Sabah integrity system to ensure that top government political leaders keep to the straight and narrow path of honesty and integrity and do not succumb to corruption and abuses of power.
The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should investigate how a Sabah politician who had been Sabah Chief Minister for two years and Federal Minister for Land and Co-operatives for four years could accummulate such astronomical wealth as to run up RM28 million debts in a London casino a year after political retirement.
This is because the Daily Express in Sabah today reported that his RM7.1 million gambling debt to the London casino, Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd., represented the balance of RM28 million that Osu owed the casino and that he succeeded in repaying some RM21 million.
It was also reported that Osu accumulated his debts with the London casino between February and November 2002, shortly after he stepped down after his two-year stint as Sabah’s 12th Chief Minister from March 1999 – 2001, when he was still both Member of Parliament (Papar) and Sabah State Assemblyman (Kawang).
The affidavit of the Gaming Manager of The Ritz Hotel Casino (“the Club”) , Robert William Whitehall dated 29th May 2003, in the suit against Osu, which has not been contradicted by the former Sabah Chief Minister, alleged that Osu had submitted his application for membership of the Club on 8th July 2000 (when he was Sabah Chief Minister), that Osu “gambled on almost a daily basis” in his various trips to London in February, April, May and September 2002; that on a single day on May 11, 2002, he gambled British Pound 1.5 million with a loss of British Pound 1,499,000; and that Osu was also gambling in other London casinos.
The ACA should launch a full-scale investigation to ascertain why there was not only the human failure of a person, but even more serious, the institutional failure of a system of integrity, such as the Code of Conduct and declaration of assets by the Sabah Chief Minister to the Prime Minister, and what lessons should be learnt and the remedies to be put in place to avoid the recurrence of future Osu Sakams whether in Sabah or at the federal level.