A police report has been lodged in Canada over the transfer of “timber kickbacks” between two companies linked to Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The report, lodged by Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), is linked to evidence of the transfer of Canadian $20 million from Hong Kong company Richfold Investment and Canadian company Sakto Development Corporation.
Richfold is owned by Taib’s brother, Onn Mahmud, while Sakto is owned by Taib’s daughter, Jamilah Taib Murray.
BMF said this is evidence of the “timber kickbacks” allegedly paid by Japanese shipping companies to Richfold’s sister company Regent Star to obtain permits to carry timber from Sarawak to Japan, which was “laundered” via Canada.
Regent Star is also owned by Onn, but BMF did not produce evidence that Regent Star had transferred funds to its sister company Richfold.
Taib, in a statement to the Sarawak state assembly, had denied any knowledge of kickbacks paid to Regent Star.
According to official mortgage documents obtained by BMF, Sakto had in December 2005 received a loan of C$20 million from Richfold.
The agreement, held by the Ottawa Land Registry, showed that the agreement was signed by – among others – Jamilah, Onn, Taib’s late wife Leila Mahmud, and Richfold.
It was signed on Sakto’s behalf by Jamilah’s husband Sean Murray while the chargee or lender was “Jamilah H Taib in Trust”.
“The new evidence suggests that Taib lied to the state assembly,” BMF said in a statement.
“It is hard to imagine that his wife, his children and his brother would have concluded a multi-million-dollar financial agreement with Sakto behind his back.
“We are confident that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will open an investigation against the Taibs and charge them for money-laundering.”
One of the richest women in Canada
Jamilah is one of Canada’s richest women, with a net worth of C$1.2 billion – an achievement Taib said was due to her own business acumen in growing “some money” he had gifted to her.
However, the companies owned by Jamilah (right in picture) Sakto, Sakti Interational Corporation and Ridgeford London, denied ever being funded by Taib.
Last week, PKR urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to continue with its investigations against Taib, even though he has announced that he will retire at the end of this month.
The MACC had said that a special committee is investigating all reports lodged against Taib.
Taib’s party PBB has confirmed that it will nominate Taib to take over as state governor to recognise his contribution to the state for 33 years as chief minister.
Some critics believe that the move could provide Taib with immunity from corruption charges, but law expert Abdul Aziz Bari said legal action is still possible, if there is evidence of wrong-doing.
This is because even the nine Malay rulers can still be charged through a special court established under Article 182 of the federal constitution. – Malaysiakini