Just catching the thieves does not mean our money is protected

umar mukhtar

The current safeguards to avoid buying at inflated prices are obviously not effective. What is MARA doing about it? 

Umar Mukhtar

A property is sold to a trust fund at a price millions of ringgit above market price. The vendor then paid millions to dubious accounts for so-called consultancy services rendered. All you have to do is follow the money trail and if you find that it ends up in bank accounts which are connected in one way or another to the trustee managers, then corruption is most likely to have happened. It’s not rocket science, MARA!

I am not holding my breath for MARA and the authorities to haul anybody to court. That may come later once enough evidence has been collected for conviction.

All I am waiting for is for my government to admit that based on what is now known, in all probability, there had been hanky-panky in the transaction. The culprits, if any, will face the full implications of the law. Meanwhile, the following actions by the government are in order to make sure the matter can never be repeated.

Stealing by thieves is one thing, losing by theft is another. They can be separated. For example, if your house has been burgled, you address the issue of the house needing better protection, and meanwhile cooperate with the cops in the investigation to catch the burglar, if they can.

So MARA needs to address first, if in fact their money is lost, and how to stop it in the future. That’s what I need to know. Is it that difficult when one of the vendors had sworn under oath that the price was inflated? Without splitting hairs, so MARA has lost money then. The current safeguards to avoid buying at inflated prices are obviously not effective. What is MARA doing about it? We need to know because these are public funds.

The relevant Authorities may proceed to investigate if the perpetrators of the theft can be prosecuted and convicted. That is another matter. It may take ages but the defensive actions of protecting public funds can be finalised now. Do it. NOW.

Similarly, in the case of IMDB, the paramount issue is, the safeguards against making the public liable for government commercial (ad)ventures need to be corrected on an urgent basis. As to who were mischievous, and why, and whether because of these leakages someone is not fit to be Prime Minister, though relevant, is another matter. The politics of the latter are making us avoid addressing the elephant in the room.

Already in the midst of the on-going controversy, there are now allegations that the recent interim solution of paying 1MDB’s currently due debts with the assistance of the Arabs involve the government still giving yet another sovereign guarantee to the Arabs, that if 1MDB fails to deliver whatever that was promised in the future in consideration of getting their assistance, the Malaysian public will have to pay up. It is happening again.

It is amazing that we don’t even know what was promised, and to whom, and yet we are liable if somebody doesn’t do whatever that we don’t know what. Isn’t this the kind of situation that the government officials would normally want to avoid in their private lives? Is it normal too that they also buy things at inflated prices when using their own money?

Damn those thieves, whatever their motivations, and damn those who are supposed to catch them but are dragging their feet. Meanwhile, can we tighten the gaps, please. In this country, it seems that unless we catch guilty parties, then the crime was not committed.

People whom we suspect to be guilty of the theft may get away under laws which are not tight, or shoddy investigation, or selective prosecution. But our money has actually been stolen or will be stolen by whoever. Protect it. Don’t be so hung up with the thieves at the expense of strengthening our protection.

Of course, the buck stops at the desk of the nation’s CEO, but it is folly if we don’t see that politicians are more interested in collecting political capital than the rectification of the problem itself. What’s the guarantee that his replacement will be more responsible?