KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) today questioned the federal anti-graft agency as to why some of the poignant issues highlighted in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project, was not in the list of charges against former Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd managing director Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor today.
In a statement, the party's committee member Lim Wei Jiet said that none of the companies to which Ahmad Ramli was charged with channelling payments without the company's approval, was explicitly mentioned in the PAC report.
The lawyer said that the payments amounting to more than RM20 million in total are also only a very small part of the transaction compared to the whole LCS scandal which amounts to more than RM6 billion.
"If we look more deeply, it is clear that the main leakages & misuse identified by PAC are not reflected in the accusations against Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli today," he said.
"Among them are: Why was the design of the Sigma type ship chosen by the Royal Malaysian Navy suddenly changed to Gowind in July 2011, so much so that Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar, Commander of the Navy at that time, said 'something is gravely wrong'?"
Ahmad Ramli, who was also chairman of the LCS Steering Committee, was earlier today accused of abusing his position as director of the Boustead Nayal Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) by offering contracts to companies without approval from the board.
In the first charge, he was accused of approving payment of RM13,541,140 to Setaria Holding Limited at the Standard Chartered Bank, 6 Battery RD, Singapore 049909 without approval from the BNS board. This offence was allegedly committed between July 26, 2010 and March 25, 2011.
The second charge was for approving a payment of RM1,360,716 payment to JSD Corporation Pte Ltd at the Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited in Singapore also without approval of the BNS board. This was allegedly committed between April 19, 2011 and May 4, 2011.
The final charge was for approving payment of RM6,182,295 to Sousmarin Armada Ltd at Standard Chartered Bank at 6 Battery Road, Singapore, allegedly committed between October 28, 2010 and November 22, 2010.
All three offences were allegedly committed at BNS on the 17th Floor, Menara Boustead, 69 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur.
Ahmad Ramli, who was also chairman of the LCS Steering Committee, also allegedly appointed committee members without the approval of the BNS board.
"Why did BNS appoint CAD and CED companies to buy equipment from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), thus causing the purchase to multiply? Which official or minister has made a profit in the past? Why does the government give contracts to BNS companies through continuous negotiation, even though the BNS class is hit by severe financial problems, and the terms of the contract are very unfavourable to the government?" Lim asked.
"All the important and urgent questions above have still not been answered in today's court accusations. Muda advises MACC to ensure that the real masterminds behind the LCS scandal are accused and tried in court. Let's not make one of the officials a scapegoat for only a small transaction, with the intention of obscuring the public's mind that all those guilty in the LCS scandal have already been brought to justice," he added.
If found guilty, Ahmad Ramli can be punished with a minimum jail time of two years and a maximum of 20 years, a fine, and whipping.
In its report released on August 8, Parliament's bipartisan watchdog Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said BNS was awarded a RM9.128 billion 10-year contract from 2013 to 2023 for the supply of the six LCS.
The PAC report also said the Malaysian government had to date already paid RM6.083 billion to the contractor, but none of the six LCS vessels has been completed. Based on the original schedule, five of the six LCS vessels should have been completed and handed over by August 2022.
According to the PAC, the project had run into cost overruns of RM1.4005 billion as the government’s payments to the Boustead Naval Shipyard were not fully used for the LCS project, noting that the RM1.4 billion overrun included RM400 million that was spent to pay off an old debt for the New Generation Patrol Vehicle project.
The PAC report said equipment kept in storage for the LCS project is estimated to be worth RM1.7 billion, with an estimated 15 per cent of these already obsolete.