MACC says new proof found in Tajuddin’s case

(The Malaysian Insider) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) revealed today that new evidence has surfaced in its investigations against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.

The anti-graft body’s Operations’ Evaluation Panel chairman (PPO) Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil said today that corruption investigations against the former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chairman was still underway, but refused to elaborate further.

“The MACC still currently investigating Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli, the former MAS chairman for alleged corruption.

“There is new evidence to Tajuddin Ramli’s case, but we cannot reveal any further details as of yet. There are new witnesses, but with all corruption cases, it can only stay investigated if witnesses come forward,” Hadenan told a press conference today.

MAS experienced its biggest ever loss amounting to RM8 billion when Tajuddin was chairman, which led to complaints being lodged against him.

Pakatan Rakyat parties, chiefly PAS, have been pressuring the MACC to investigate the high-profile case, using the anti-graft body’s delay in investigations as political fodder in nightly rallies across the country.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, who is part of the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption, had claimed that the MACC was holding back in probing the case.

“I cannot forget the MAS issue… I had reported it to MACC, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Police and the chairman of the special panel for MACC but so far there has been no response.

“If you follow procedures, this is strange, why no development in these cases? Look at PKFZ, only after five years we see some form of action, the same goes for (Datuk Seri) Khir Toyo,” the PAS man told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Hadenan, however, refuted allegations that the anti-graft body was powerless when investigating high-powered personalities.

“There have been claims that the MACC has not been investigating (Tajuddin Ramli’s) case… investigations are still being carried,” said Hadenan.

MAS had first lodged a police report against Tajuddin in 2002 for allegedly causing the national carrier to suffer losses in excess of RM8 billion.

Tajuddin was the executive chairman of the airlines from 1994 to 2001.

According to a report to the MACC, a major contributor to the record losses under Tajuddin was the relocation of MAS’s cargo operation in Amsterdam and Frankfurt to a single hub in Hahn, Germany, where the airline was forced to enter into a disadvantageous aircraft lease contract with a company, which was later linked to Tajuddin’s family.

The new cargo hub operation had caused MAS to suffer losses of between RM10 million and RM16 million a month before the project was terminated after the government regained control of MAS in 2001.

The termination resulted in a RM300 million arbitration claim against MAS by the company.

The report to the MACC dated May last year also alleged that the Attorney-General has been reluctant to prosecute Tajuddin, despite the then-CCID chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff’s assurance in 2007 that it had identified various prosecutable offences.

It also claimed that Tajuddin had been given access to the investigation and police records, which were used to facilitate the arbitration claim.