In the wake of the recent scandals involving Securities Commission Tan Sri Zarinah “Gangster of Bukit Kiara” Anwar and her corporate-notorious husband Dato’ Azizan Abdul Rahman in the sale of 30% E&O shares to PNB controlled conglomerate Sime Darby, we would like to recap what happened in the past involving one of the most prominent capital market scandal.
A capital market rogue Dato’ Tony Tiah who was involved with Dato’ Soh Chee Wen in the 90s for the fraud in the Omega Securities, was allowed back into mainstream corporate scene. All happened after Zarinah was the head of the capital market regulatory body.
Here is how the story goes.
During the go-go 1990s, Datuk Tony Tiah Thee Kian stood at the top of the stockbroking heap. TA Enterprise Bhd was the largest stockbroker in town, with over 700 remisiers and a huge client base. On 12 October 1990, as part of a restructuring exercise, TA Enterprise acquired TA Securities. A month later, TA Enterprise was listed on the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE). In March 1991, TA Enterprise acquired Botly & Co Sdn Bhd. On 30 March 1990, AT Securities Sdn Bhd, an outfit started by Tiah and his wife, changed its name to Omega Securities Sdn Bhd. Both Omega Securities and Pahang-based WK Securities were acquired by Omega Holdings Bhd on 8 March 1991.
While Omega was thriving and Tiah was busy expanding his business beyond Malaysian shores, there were hints of a scandal emerging. In a July 1993 news report, for example, Tony Tiah came out to deny that TA Securities was in any way linked to the Union Paper Holdings Bhd scandal. The Union Paper case involved the massive short-selling of the company’s shares on the KLSE, which resulted in the exchange having to buy in Union Paper shares. Tiah also denied that TA had suffered large contra losses due to a rather significant correction in the market then.
In 1997, things got more serious. Other names were being linked to the Tiahs, names such as businessman Datuk Soh Chee Wen. On 23 March 1998, Tiah resigned from the KLSE committee, citing health reasons. Three weeks later, on 9 April, he withdrew his resignation. In June 1998, Omega Securities’ trading licence was terminated after it had failed to meet the KLSE’s minimum liquid funds requirement. Eleven other brokerages were placed under trading restrictions. Tiah and Soh were charged with defrauding Omega Securities of RM 424 million in a share transaction in August 1999.
August 04 , 1999 13:53PM
DATUK TONY TIAH CHARGED UNDER SECURITIES INDUSTRY ACT
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 (Bernama) — TA Enterprise Bhd executive chairman Datuk
Tony Tiah Thee Kian was charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court here today
with abetting Datuk Soh Chee Wen in using a scheme to defraud Omega
Securities Sdn Bhd.
He claimed trial to the charge under the Securities Industry Act and was
allowed bail of RM1 million pending mention of the case on Oct 7,1999.
Sessions Court judge Mokhtaruddin Baki ordered Tiah to surrender his
passport and travel documents to the court.
The charge said that Tiah had directly in connection with the purchase of
35,563,000 units of Uniphoenix Corporation Bhd shares through the margin
accounts in Omega Securities, abetted Soh in using a scheme to defraud
Securities by the execution of direct business transactions namely
“crossings” in the margin accounts, which did not involve any change in the
beneficial ownership of Uniphoenix Corporation shares.
This act which caused the withdrawal of RM424,930,597.50 from Omega
Securities when the margin equity of the said margin accounts was below 150
percent, was in contravention of Rule 20(20) of the Kuala Lumpur Stock
Exchange Rules For Trading by Member Companies.
As a result of this, Omega Securities did not have sufficient collateral to
finance the said margin accounts.
Tiah is alleged to have committed the offence at Omega ecurities, Plaza Perangsang, Persiaran Perbandaran, Shah Alam between Sept 2, 1997 and Jan
The offence carries a fine of not less than RM1 million and a jail term of
not more than 10 years.
In the same court, Khoo Poh Kim @ Kimmy was charged with abettting Tiah in
abetting Soh for the said offence.
She pleaded not guilty and was allowed bail of RM100,000 pending mention on
the same date.
Khoo was also ordered to surrender her passport and travel documents to the
Soh, together with Patric Lim are being sought by the Securities Commission
(SC) to help the authority in their investigations. Both Soh and Lim are
believed to be overseas. — BERNAMA
Soh admitted to conspiring with Tiah in providing false statements to the stock exchange pertaining to 44,592,000 shares of Omega Holdings, between 2 Sept 1997 and 12 Jan 1998. Tiah was fined RM 3 million, in default 30 months’ imprisonment, on each charge. Soh admitted guilt to the second of two principal charges of defrauding the now-defunct Omega Securities of RM 95.97 million. On 11 May 2002, Tiah resigned as executive chairman of TA Enterprise and his wife took over the stewardship of the company. He returned to the post in August 2007.
How could someone like Tiah came back into centre of corporate scene and managing a plc? Isn’t being fined RM 3 million in lieu of two-and-a-half years jail for fraud proven that someone is not of ‘good standing’, to be in corporate scene and be a steward of so many stakeholders, which include public at large?
Only with the powers that be allowed something like this to be so. SC as the regulatory body for capital and financial markets should put a stop against rogues heading the helm of corporations, where the stakeholders include Malaysian public and investors outside the country. In this case, we suspiciously believe that not only SC did not put a stop, they are criminally negligent to allow someone with that sort of ‘white collar’ crime to be back into corporate position.
It clearly seemed that Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop in 2006 induced then Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to appoint a Shell Human Resources woman into the top notch capital and financial market regulator job in 2006, for corporate rogues like Tiah and Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan go about their marauding ways to ‘plunder and pillage’.
Riong Kali and Azizan are best of buddies. Days after the acquisition was made by Sime Darby, Riong Kali via his interests in ECM Libra demanded seats in the E&O BOD, where Azizan is the Chairman.
So many issues about in the Sime Darby acquisition into E&O, which until today SC has not acted on so many counts of insider trading. Namely. GK Goh was one of the three sellers to Sime Darby, was mopping millions of E&O shares from the market prior to the sale.In fact Chairman Azizan and major shareholder Goh buying E&O shares that were rising in value at a time global stock markets were crashing.
SC Chairman Zarinah’s infamous memo to SC staff on what the PM Najib saidabout the matter involving her husband in E&O (this case it is hear say, PM Najib never made any official statement about it). What is more worrying is that, Zarinah’s leaked memo to the press (if a memo can be leaked, only god knows what else can be leaked by the people in SC).
On the contradiction to her position, Zarinah cant remain at helm of SC while an investigation is going on, because her subordinates are being asked to investigate possibly even her husband. Insider trading is a jail-able offense.
The current investigation is on whether Sime Darby must make a general offer, but if it was on insider trading, SC has power to freeze the proceeds. What Sime Darby did was just being taken for a ride to take the 30% shares for RM 766 million, which so many thought as being ‘over priced’. Nothing illegal there. If SC rules that Sime Darby were to make the GO at the prices they bought, then Tham, GK Goh, Wan Azmi, Azizan and ECM Libra would stand to ride on their disposal of what ever holdings they have.
However, SC is not looking into ‘Insider Trading’ at all. Looks like the current SC investigation is harping on the wrong tree, toothless in nature and is one big hogwash. It is so clear that the tracks are trying to be covered.
Nor Mohamed is a rogue corporate personality in his own right. His name is synonymous with certain criminal breach of trust cases during the days of Abrar Corp Bhd. in the 90s. His notorious reputation is carried through even in his political position in Government, when two of his political secretaries Dato’ Mohd. Norza Zakaria and Hasbie Satar being charged for corruption. Hasbie’s case is on going and even though Norza’s case was acquitted, he is now being charged for perjury.
Lets not forget in the early days of Zarinah in the SC top job, she got SC to ‘practically close-one-eye’ for all the misconducts and frauds in the ECM Libra-Avenue Capital merger where MOF Inc ‘gave away’ the securities firm in favour of Riong Kali and his partners, which include then Vice UMNO Youth Head Khairy Jamaluddin.
For the record, Soh is one of Opposition Leader Anwar “Mat King Leather” Ibrahim’s financial backers. But is for another story, another day.
As for now, Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak cannot win the support and confidence of many people because of ‘legacy personalities’ like Nor Mohamed and Zarinah still very much around. For the good of him taking Malaysia forward with all his grand plans via Government Transformation Plan/Economic Transformation Plan (GTP/ETP), evil persons like those afore mentioned must be unconditionally stemmed if not weeded out.
* Updated 1130hrs Thursday 22 September 2011