Posted: 07 Mar 2012 10:21 PM PST
While the furore against Sarawak agriculture assistant minister Mong Dagang's instruction to cease welfare assistance to a disabled person is still boiling, whistleblower website Sarawak Report has raised another shocking allegation.
The website claims that Mong (left) and his party president James Masing are involved in RM70 million kickback from a land development scheme in Mong's constituency.
The allegation is based on a letter purportedly written by Mong on June 18, 1997, as the state assemblyperson of Bukit Begunan to Kho Chee Pheng of Megaruma Sdn Bhd, a company based in Kuching, asking for the kickback.
In the letter, first exposed in 2010 by a blogger, Mong allegedly authorised Kho to "propose, organise and invite any potential investor(s) intending to establish and to develop on a joint venture basis with the landowners of oil palm plantation in the Kelingkang Range, (Bukit Begunan), Sri Aman, Sarawak".
"I the undersigned hereby agree that the investor(s) will have to pay at least RM1,000 per acre and after deduction of the upfront to LCDA the balance will be divided 50 percent to the undersigned and 50 percent to Kho Chee Pheng," stated the letter.
The Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) is a state-owned statutory body to facilitate land development in Sarawak, especially native land.
Wives, brother, own nominee firm
The letter named three companies one of which was to be used for the joint venture, as well as three nominees to be registered with the company chosen for the enterprise.
The companies named are Noble Reserves Sdn Bhd, Noble Resources Sdn Bhd and Noble Rewards Sdn Bhd while the nominees are Bawang Ak Dem, Leyta Kupa and Henry Yan Masing.
James (centre in photo) is also Sarawak Senior Minister for Land Development and president of PRS.
The Sarawak Report claimed that Bawang is Mong's wife, Leyta is the wife of James' private secretary Wilson Ugak, and Henry is James' brother.
The website also published a document from the Companies Commission of Malaysia, showing the three nominees as major shareholders of Noble Reserves Sdn Bhd, one of the firms listed in the letter.
Should the payment of RM1,000 per acre come about, the total commission may go up to RM70 million as the letter stated that the plantation area was "approximately 70,000 acres" with investors having to pay "at least RM1,000 per acre".
Although the letter cannot be verified, Mong's purported signature on the letter is similar to the one shown on the letter to the Agriculture Department terminatingsubsidies to the disabled person, which Mong had admitted.
PKR Batu Lintang assemblyperson and native rights lawyer See Chee How told Malaysiakini that native landowners at the area, who had rejected the plantation scheme, are in the midst of bringing the case against the joint venture partners and LCDA to court.
The project was earlier pushed through by James and Mong on the basis that the local people would benefit, said See.
The Sarawak Report also quoted See as saying that both James and Mong had committed fraud because the duo had been trying to convince the people that they would be able to take a 30 percent share of the joint venture and share the profits in return for their land, but they were not told about the huge kickback.
"Under the joint venture that money should have been shared among the people, not paid to nominees of the very politicians who were talking them into the scheme," See added.
Both James and Mong were unavailable for comment at press time
Posted: 09 Mar 2012 03:18 AM PST
By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: The Sarawak PKR women's wing has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against State Land Development Minister James Masing and State Assistant Agriculture Minister Mong Dagang for alleged misuse and abuse of power in a land deal in Sri Aman.
Masing is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president while Dagang is a vice-president. Dagang is Bukit Begunan assemblyman.
Yesterday, a women's wing chief Nurhanim Mokshen handed over some documents, letters and reports in relation to the alleged land deal.
She called on MACC to investigate the allegation to take necessary actions to clear the names of the minister and the assistant minister or to commence the process of cleaning up "our public offices".
She was accompanied by a lawyer, Simon Siah.
The MACC told them that the commission was aware of the case and had been instructed to look into the matter.
Nurhanim's report was in response to online exposé by investigative portal Sarawak Report. The portal published a letter, allegedly signed by Dagang, asking for "kickbacks" amounting to RM70 million from the sale of 70,000 acres of land belonging to his own constituents.
The land at Kelingkang Range, Bukit Begunan, Sri Aman, was to be developed into an oil palm plantation.
Masing, Dagang's 'nominees'
In a letter dated June 18, 1997, Dagang allegedly asked for RM1,000 per acre from Megarume Sdn Bhd.
The letter also "directed" that "any of the three companies – Noble Reserves Sdn Bhd, Noble Resources Sdn Bhd or Noble Rewards Sdn Bhd – to be used for the joint venture with the "investors".
Dagang had also allegedly included details of his name and personal details and "also three photocopies of our nominees' identity cards".
The "nominees" listed in the letter were Dagang's wife, Bawang Ak Deru, Masing's personal secretary's wife, Leyta Kupa and Masing's brother Henry Yan.
All the three are directors of Noble Rewards.
The claim of alleged "kickbacks" came to light following a revelation that Dagang had revoked government welfare aid and subsidies to a disabled farmer simply because he had openly supported the opposition in last April's state election.
Masing's defence of Dagang merely added more fuel to the controversy, with Sarawakians angered over the former's advice to voters to "jangan lawan towkay" (alluding that they – Masing and Dagang –were the bosses and their decisions should not be challenged.
Case in court
Meanwhile, when contacted, native customary rights (NCR) land lawyer See Chee How confirmed that the area in question was already subject to a court case initiated by native landowners.
See, who is also the Batu Lintang assemblyman, said that more than 50% of the landowners had rejected the plantation and many had also turned down the paltry RM1,000 per family offered by these politicians.
Nevertheless, Masing and Dagang have as pushed through the project on the basis that the local people would benefit.
"It surely comes as a surprise that the native landowners are yet to receive any dividends from the enterprise after the first six years.
"This qualifies as fraud," See said, adding this is because Dagang and Masing had been trying to convince people they would be able to take a 30% share of the joint venture and share the profits in return for their land.
"They tell the people 'let the LCDA [Land Custody and Development Authority] develop your land and you will get 30% of the joint venture and profit. However, the people were not told about this huge kickbacks, " he said.
"Under the joint venture, the money should have been shared among the people, not paid to nominees of the very politicians who were talking them into the scheme," See said. – FMT
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