MACC seizes files from Venturepharm

(The Sun Daily) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has seized several files and documents from drug firm Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd, which was awarded a RM19.99 million contract to build the Malaysian pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

A senior investigations officer told theSun today that Grace Chen Oyan Yun Shai, the director of the company, was interviewed on Monday, following her return from China, to assist the ongoing probe.

"We are also in the process of interviewing several people from the Tourism Ministry," the officer said, without revealing names.

He, however, refused to comment further on the case.

It was reported earlier that the MACC is working on the possibility that senior government officials could have worked in ‘favour’ of the company to obtain lucrative deals from the government.

Venturepharm Asia’s name was first brought up in Parliament last month by Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong.

Wee raised the issue on how the company, controlled by Taiwanese with alleged political link received lucrative contracts from the Government.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen has since denied any political link and said the contract was awarded in an open tender, and through a transparent manner.

She also said that the first tender was cancelled because the theme was not suitable for the expo and the second tender was advertised in the newspapers, and the bidding companies were not charged re-submission fees.

Venturepharm’s affiliate company Dora Worldwide Sdn Bhd was awarded a contract by the Malaysian Tourism Board to manage Tourism Malaysia’s call centre.

Dora Worldwide is controlled by Grace Chen’s son, Chin Fook Kwon.

Venturepharm also received a multi-million ringgit grant from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) in 2008 for a bio-feed project but the grant has since been frozen following another probe by the MACC.

The Ministry froze the grant this year upon learning that Venturepharm only had the ability to do research into ‘localisation of mucosal bio-additive for feed’ through transfer of technology from a United States company.

Grace Chen is also the chairperson of Daley PR, which was awarded a contract by the Malaysian Tourism Board to promote Malaysia in China.

Meanwhile, Wee urged the Government to call for a re-tender of the project to ensure transparency.

"To this date, the Tourism Ministry has not made public the members of the Tender Committee, which had purportedly made the decision to appoint Venturepharm Asia," Wee said.

"In view of the questionable way the tender was finally concluded, many conflict of interests that had occurred, and it is best to call for a re-tender by another committee with members outside the Ministry of Tourism," he added.