Is the merajuk linked to Alcatel bribe case?

 

The pirate from Oxfordshire

This morning, the nation’s Sunday news is startled by the pre-mature announcement of UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaludddin’s offer not to stand in the General Election for his parachuted Rembau parliamentary seat. Instant reaction of many is, KJ merajuk?.

As expected, speculations within the ICT bandwidth start to splurge with The Star story. Some say that he is standing for a State DUN seat. Hopefuls would want him as the next Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar (as an MB, one would be made the UMNO Liaison Chief, hence with a lot of political muscle). Some say he is going for a safer seat, which is his father-in-law’s Kepala Batas parliamentary seat. Others, speculate that this is a ‘merajuk‘ bluff for him being given at least a Deputy Minister’s job in the next Cabinet reshuffle. Especially since his UMNO Youth competitor Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir recently being alleviated as Deputy UMNO Liaison Chief of Kedah.

Then it struck us. What if this ‘merajuk‘ is not about all that. Just because Khairy won and Mukhriz lost, for the last 20 months as the ‘victor’ he had to stommach to see the latter been getting appointments, a very good mainstream media attention and coverage and where else the former who is an UMNO VP-stature is still left with nothing (not even a BOD of a GLC or statutory body), therefore he is reacting to it? He should have reacted to that much earlier. Especially when there is a ‘systematic and structured’ mainstream electronic media ‘blackout’, even as a VP-stature UMNO leader. We think it is bigger than all that .

Why shouldn’t it be?

Recently, the authorities have started to come hard on errant leaders on corrupt practices. Big names are not spared. Immediate previous Selangor MB (who is the current Opposition Leader in DUN Selangor) was charged last month for corrupt cases. The public hopes for more. In fact, the public wants to see more blood of corrupters.

Last week, the media asked the Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim Ph.D about the case with Telekom Malaysia:

Thursday December 30, 2010

Minister asks TM to explain kickback allegations

By B.K. SIDHU
bksidhu@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The Government views the allegations of kickbacks of US$700,000 paid to Malaysians by Alcatel Lucent SA for it to win a US$85mil telecoms contract between 2004 and 2006 very seriously and Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim wants the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the matter.

“It does not speak very well in terms of our international image, so the pursuing act we need is to have more details on how and where (all this occurred); otherwise we would appear to be a whole lump of graft givers,” Rais told StarBiz when contacted yesterday.

Documents made public by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice on Monday alleged that French equipment supplier Alcatel paid bribes to employees of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) in exchange for non-public information.

Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim wants TM to explain its position

It said the information included important documents and budget information relating to ongoing bids and competitor pricing information. Because of the bribes, it claimed, Alcatel won a US$85mil contract. The contract is said to be for the deployment of equipment for Celcom’s 3G rollout under phase 2 in 2006. Celcom was then TM’s unit and since the demerger, it is now a unit of Axiata Group Bhd.

Alcatel and two other international vendors were the losers for the first phase of 3G deployment as the contract then went to Nokia Networks Malaysia and China’s Huawei Technologies.

The SEC alleged that Alcatel Malaysia’s management consented to these payments and those who got the kickbacks were two consultants who received payments of US$200,000 and US$500,000 through US bank accounts purportedly for market research.

“It is alarming if it is true and this is the first time it exposes Malaysia as a participating element (to graft). We look at this seriously and I have (instructed) the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission to be on the watchout for telcos in Malaysia so that this is not (standard) practice,” Rais said.

The MACC also issued a statement yesterday saying that it would “verify with parties concerned” before proceeding with any potential probe into the Alcatel international bribery scandal despite the telco’s admission that it had paid off Malaysian officials.

Irregularities were found relating to the contract and this matter was raised during a meeting at TM, but it was purportedly brushed aside. It was reported that TM director Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed quit as audit committee chairman after the irregularities were found but not investigated.

Rais said since TM was mentioned directly in the documents, it should explain its position and come out with a due process so that things were more transparent and responsibly laid out as TM was a public listed company.

“We take these allegations seriously and will further conduct thorough internal investigations to safeguard the integrity of our procurement process and ensure adherence to our Code of Business Ethics. Upon any substantive findings, we will inform the relevant authorities and will extend all necessary cooperation, where required,” TM said in response to the SEC allegations.

TM said “it had zero tolerance policy on improper and irregular practices and will take appropriate action in the event that any of our employees were indeed involved. It said it is fully committed to a fair and transparent procurement policy and adheres to current best practices”.

“We have very strict and thorough procurement processes that involve technical assessment of any contract scope, together with stringent requirements on the equipment, support and vendor credentials,” TM said.

Even Axiata has responded by saying that “although there was no specific mention of any contract relating to Axiata or its subsidiaries, there may be a potential indirect link as this matter allegedly occurred between October 2004 and February 2006 prior to the demerger of TM Group.

“We view these potential allegations seriously and will investigate this matter as Axiata and its subsidiaries uphold the highest standards of integrity and ethical standards in all its dealings and do not condone or tolerate any breach of code of conduct by its employees, subsidiaries, partners or vendors,” Axiata said.

Alcatel agreed on Monday to pay more than US$137mil to settle US charges that it paid millions of dollars in bribes to foreign officials to win business in Latin America and Asia.

Alcatel has been accused of making payments to government officials in countries including Costa Rica, Honduras, Taiwan and Malaysia to win or keep contracts worth millions of dollars, the SEC document said. Between December 2001 and June 2006, the company allegedly used consultants who funnelled more than US$8mil in bribes to officials, and Alcatel also improperly hired third-party agents in countries like Nigeria to help win deals.

The SEC, in its three-page section on Malaysia, alleged that the “TM employees who received bribes were “foreign officials” within the meaning of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and were in a significant position to influence the policy decision TM made. Alcatel Standard also made significant lump-sum payments through US bank accounts to two consultants purportedly for market research.”

However, “the work product these consultants prepared could not justify the size of Alcatel Standard’s payments. In fact, Malaysian Consultant A and Malaysian Consultant B did not appear to render any legitimate services to Alcatel Malaysia in connection with these payments,” the filing said.

The document said Alcatel admitted it earned about US$48.1mil in profits as a result of the improper payments.

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Is Khairy involved in this case?

One would want to put on record that when the 2004-06 USD 700,000 ‘kickbacks’ were given away by Alcatel to Consultants ‘A’ and ‘B’, it was at the times where the ‘Level Four Boys’ reign of terror. Everything was decided from the ‘Level Four’ of the Prime Minister’s Office. For the record, Dato’ Dr Norraesah Mohamad was appointed the Chairman of  Alcatel Systems Network (M) Sdn. Bhd. on 8 July 2003.  One time an MT UMNO and Wanita UMNO Leader, Norraesah is closely linked and related to PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Would this case be any different?

Khairy’s name often being associated of projects initiated and rolled-out during those ‘reign of terror’ dark period of modern Malaysia. Moonsoon Cup, Halal Development Corporation and Penang Global City Centre all linked to Khairy and where else all the economic corridors are half-baked wet-dreams of the ‘Level Four Boys’. Telekom Malaysia was sliced to the current TM  Bhd.and TM International (now Axiata Bhd) is the work of the ‘Level Four Boys’.

Like anything else, time is the best element to tell the truth. The Malaysian socio-political bloggosphere is a very mysterious and intriguing digital dimension. Lets see what will turn up within these virtual spaces.

So for Khairy to ‘throw in the towel’ pre-maturely’ is said to the sympathetic game that he wants to play for the moment. The ‘dramatist’ as he is, would want a ‘cover story’ for his ‘sabbatical’. If the bribe case goes all to way to him, he would use that as a ‘bargaining chip’ for the book not to be thrown against. Or so it would seem.

 

Published in: on January 2, 2011 at 22:00  Comments (17)