picture credit: Free Malaysia Today
There’s a strong Sabah connection in the controversial purchase of properties in Australia.
Mara Investment chairman Mohammad Lan Allani, a former Sulabayan assemblyman, is one of three people named in The Age report on the government agency’s purchase of overpriced properties.
Mara Inc, the investment subsidiary of Mara headed by Mohammad Lan Allani, was directly implicated in the Australian article.
Mara comes under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development. The Minister, Shafie Apdal, comes from Sabah and represents Semporna in Parliament. He’s also an Umno Vice-President.
Mara Chairman Annuar Musa has confirmed that “a proposal after being approved by the Mara Board, had to be approved by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, and then submitted to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) or the National Economic Council.”
Mohammad Lan could not be contacted but the social media has noted that he told the Australian newspaper that he “could not remember the Dudley House purchase”.
The newspaper apparently tracked Mohammad Lan through the Malaysian consulate website in Melbourne and spoke with him in May this year. He told The Age that he was “responsible for setting up offshore companies as a “convenient” way to dispose Malaysian government-owned property held overseas”.
The details uncovered by The Age paint a picture of a massive potential corruption scandal involving Mara.
According to its report, Mara, through its subsidiary Mara Inc, had in 2013 purchased a five-storey apartment block near Monash University in Caulfield, reportedly worth AUD17.8 million, at a vastly inflated price of AUD22.5 million (RM65 million).
Through an eight-month investigation that traced money flows, court files and corporate records, The Age discovered that the transaction was “part of a global money laundering and bribery scheme engineered by greedy local developers and powerful officials overseas who pocketed AUD4.75 million (RM13.7 million) in bribes on a single deal.
The Age went on to describe in detail how a property in question, the Dudley House, had been built by an Australian developer and two Malaysian businessmen, named as Yusof Gani and Ahmad Azizi, and subsequently sold in a “remarkable deal” to Mara at AUD22.5 million, a price that included a “massive mark-up” of AUD4.75 million in “kickbacks.”
The Age also cited confidential documents that showed the involvement of Ahmad Azizi’s son Erwan Azizi, who reportedly facilitated the elaborate deal, which eventually saw AUD4.75 million in “introduction and consultancy fees” wired to a Singapore shelf company linked to Umno politician and Mara Inc chairman Mohammad Lan Allani and Mara CEO Abdul Halim Rahim.
In addition to this transaction, The Age also alleges that other offshore shelf companies had been used by Mara to purchase three other properties in Melbourne, viz. 746 Swanston Street, 51 Queen Street and 333 Exhibition Street, cumulatively worth AUD63.5 million (RM183 million).
Read the original article here