After tycoon’s conviction, PKR demands new probe on Musa Aman

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said timber magnate Michael Chia’s conviction reinforced the suspicion over Chia’s role in the transfer of money to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman in 2008. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said timber magnate Michael Chia’s conviction reinforced the suspicion over Chia’s role in the transfer of money to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman in 2008. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Anti-corruption investigators must review their dismissal of money laundering claims against Datuk Seri Musa Aman following the fraud conviction of the tycoon who channelled RM40 million to the Sabah chief minister, PKR said today.

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said the decision by a Sandakan Sessions Court to sentence Sabah timber magnate Michael Chia to a year’s jail and one lashing of the rotan over a RM2.5 million fraud charge reinforced the suspicion over his role in the transfer of the sum to Musa in 2008.

“Michael Chia has no influence or role in the government, and he has no authority to grant logging permits. The fact he can collect funds from timber firms shows that the companies and timber bosses know he is the intermediary for those with the power to influence such concessions,” the PKR strategy director said in a statement.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman

Pointing to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) success in securing Chia’s conviction yesterday, he encouraged the graft-busters to now divert their resources to renew scrutiny on the RM40 million the tycoon had funnelled to Musa, which was deemed to be “political contributions” to Umno in 2012.

Rafizi added that Chia’s conviction yesterday was also a taint on the reputation of Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, whose son was linked to the timber tycoon through the use of a luxury vehicle that Rafizi previously exposed.

Chia was yesterday sentenced to jail following his conviction on the charge of tricking Datuk Agus Hassan of RM2.5 million in a logging-related matter in 2004 by claiming that it was meant for Umno’s political funds.

He previously made the headlines in April 2012, when whistle-blower website Sarawak Report claimed he was caught trying to smuggle RM40 million worth of Singaporean currency from the Hong Kong International Airport to Malaysia in 2008.

Chia had purportedly told the authorities that the money was meant for Musa, resulting in a probe on international fund transfers that was then believed to be tied to possible money-laundering activities connected to illegal timber-felling in Sabah.

But in October 2012, minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told Parliament that the MACC had cleared Musa of corruption after it found that the RM40 million was not for his personal use, but was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers later disputed Putrajaya’s declaration of Musa’s innocence, saying that it did not show evidence that the Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency ICAC had cleared him on its own.

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