KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad today denied that his wife is named Zainab Mohd Salleh, the name of the woman linked to the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal.
In a Facebook post, the former deputy defence minister added that none of his family members were involved in the business of supplying or constructing LCS.
"My wife, or among my wives, there is no person named Zainab Mohd Salleh,” he insisted.
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli had previously claimed in a statement that a person named Zainab Mohd Salleh was the second wife of Abdul Latiff and the owner of an offshore company which LCS funds were funneled into.
He also claimed to have sighted a report from an internal investigation by Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd, which revealed how LCS subcontractors had paid €43.69 million, equivalent to RM210 million, based on invoices from a French firm, but payments went to a Malta-incorporated phoney firm instead.
"The modus operandi used is similar to the method used to steal 1MDB money. Fake companies are set up all over the world whose name is identical to a real company,” he said.
On Monday, news portal MalaysiaNow reported that Zainab is allegedly one of the owners of a company which is involved in the LCS project as being "dubiously addressed in Paris although payment to it was released in Singapore, a pattern rampant among other contractors awarded with the LCS work."
It also reported that Zainab’s name was allegedly linked to another company that had received millions of dollars for the LCS project through suspicious foreign accounts.
News portal The Edge reported that the said company was also named in the Panama Papers as well as the Paradise Papers, which disclosed how offshore companies hid money from illegal activities globally.
The LCS project is the largest procurement in the history of the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) with a total cost of RM9 billion. The said contract began in 2013 with a ten-year time frame and six LCS ships were expected to be built and delivered to the country by the end of 2023.