As pledged, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli will lodge a report against Prime Minister Najib Razak with the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly abusing his power and billing the cost of his daughter’s engagement party to taxpayers.
“PKR leaders together with Jingga13 (a reform NGO) will make a report at 2pm today at the MACC, Shah Alam branch,” Rafizi said in brief note.
On Friday, Rafizi dropped the bombshell that Najib had passed on a RM410,000 invoice from the Shangrila Hotel to the Prime Minister’s Office to pay. The dinner was attended by nearly 1,000 people and expensive dishes like Wagyu beef was served. Najib was immediately castigated for being ‘cheap’ in fobbing off the expense to the ordinary folk.
Not surprisingly, Najib’s office in an unusually quick response denied the accusations in a 2-paragraph statement that clearly targeted Rafizi, accusing him of wanting to defame ad smear the PM and demanding an apology.
However, Rafizi countered the PMO denial with a fresh statement of his own, setting 8 questions for Najib to clear his name and earn the apology. So far, there has been zero response from the PMO.
“PMO’s demand for my instant apology is premature at this junction as the two paragraphs statement consists of only mere denials, without any hard evidence or facts that can support the denial. Nor did the PMO dispute the veracity of the Banquet Event Order document produced against the Prime Minister,” said Rafizi.
Deflecting attention from himself
Rafizi has been at the centre of a barrage of corruption allegations revealed against Umno minsiter Shahrizat Jalil and her family over the NFC cattle breeding project. His latest expose’ against Najib – although it involved a dinner party held in Putrajaya – is believed to have triggered Shahrizat’s resignation as it brought to the fore Najib’s Kazakhstan connections.
Najib’s daughter had married a nephew of a powerful Kazakh leader, and even during the Kazakh-leg of their engagement in June last year, Najib and wife Rosmah Mansor had come under fire for taking scores of personal guests to the celebrations there under the cover of ‘official entourage’ on an official visit timed to coincide with their personal event. The Foreign Ministry later revealed the trip had cost Malaysian taxpayers RM1.1 million in traveling expense.
As such, the latest RM410,000 bill created a firestorm, especially since it came hot on the heels of a news report that Shahrizat’s family was also being probed by the police over the purchase of a RM1.7 million luxury apartment in southern Kazakh city of Almaty. Najib had sanctioned a memorandum of understanding between the NFC and a Kazakh party even though the NFC is not allowed to invest overseas.
To deflect attention from himself, Najib is believed to have finally called on Shahrizat to tender her resignation, which she did and is due to become effective on April 8. Over the past months, despite a slew of calls from Cabinet colleagues, BN leaders, Umno stalwarts and the public, Najib had refrained from calling on her to step down.
Shahrizat’s husband and children were accused of corruptly using a RM250 million government soft loan granted to the National Feedlot Centre cattle breeding project to gain bank loans for themselves and to purchase super-luxury condos in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and it now appears – Kazakhstan. The NFC project was awarded to Shahrizat’s husband and children to manage in 2006.
Zero response from the PMO to Rafizi’s 8-point challenge
Meanwhile, the PMO has still not replied to Rafizi’s 8-step poser. The questions Rafizi threw at Najib were:
First, he has to confirm (or deny) that the engagement party did cost as much as specified in the BEO document produced against him;
Second, he has to confirm (or deny) the veracity and authenticity of the Banquet Event Order (BEO) produced against him that clearly specifies the PMO as the party footing the bill;
Third, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original copy of the Purchase Order sent to Shangrila Hotel to ascertain which party was originally responsible for making the order,
Fourth, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original snapshot of the accounting transaction from the Government of Malaysia’s (GOM’s) accounting system which recorded the Purchase Order, to ascertain whether the order (allegedly raised by the PMO) was ever recorded in the accounting system,
Fifth, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original copy of the invoice sent by Shangrila Hotel in relation to the event as it can be used to determine whether the whole expenses were charged personally to the Prime Minister as he claims,
Sixth, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original snapshot of the accounting transaction from the Government of Malaysia’s (GOM’s) accounting system which recorded the invoice sent by Shangrila Hotel, to ascertain whether the liability to pay the invoice was ever recorded in the accounting system,
Seventh, he has to instruct the PMO to produce the original payment voucher made to Shangrila Hotel to ascertain the party which first settled the bill; and
Eight, he has to produce proof of payments in the form of a copy of his personal cheque used to pay, or his bank statements or any third party records of his financial transactions that can substantiate his claim that he did pay for the bill.
“I urge PM Najib Razak to answer the following questions backed up by hard evidence in the form official documents to prove that the public did not foot the bill for his daughter’s engagement party,” said Rafizi.