(UPDATED) Ex-deputy defence minister’s wife implicated in LCS scandal probe: allegation denied
A forensic probe has unearthed the involvement of unregistered companies in addition to suspicious transactions for the RM9 billion job to build the six combat ships that were never delivered.
(Malaysia Now) – The investigation into the procurement of littoral combat ships (LCS) has named the spouse of a former deputy defence minister who had served in past and present administrations as one of the individuals involved in the controversy surrounding the project, MalaysiaNow can reveal based on a source familiar with issue.
It is also understood that a forensic investigation has unearthed the involvement of unregistered companies in addition to suspicious transactions for the RM9 billion job by government-owned Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) to build the six combat ships that were never delivered.
One such company, Sousmarin Armada Ltd, is dubiously addressed in Paris although payment to it was released in Singapore, a pattern rampant among other contractors awarded with the LCS work.
A source who spoke to MalaysiaNow named one of the owners as Zainab Mohd Salleh, who according to the investigation is the spouse of Mersing MP Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
Latiff, who was appointed as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department after Ismail Sabri Yaakob took the top office from Muhyiddin Yassin in August last year, was formerly with Umno before joining Bersatu during the Pakatan Harapan administration.
While in Umno, he was the deputy defence minister from 2008 to 2013.
MalaysiaNow has contacted Latiff and is awaiting a response.
Zainab’s name was also linked to another company which received transactions of millions of dollars for the LCS project through suspicious accounts overseas.
“The company, Alizes Marine Ltd, was found to have been registered in Malta and Labuan under the same name,” said the source.
Malta and Labuan are both offshore tax havens.
The source further said that the two companies were, at best, “operated as phantoms”.
“They only had virtual offices, or in other words, they did not have any office.
“Both were de-registered sometime between 2014 and 2019,” it said, adding that investigators believe that both offshore companies were used by DCNS, the French military contractor appointed to design the combat ships.
Latiff and Zainab were also shareholders in Mega P Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of defence conglomerate Ameris France.
The latest company search shows that Zainab now holds all 350,002 shares in the company.
Renewed interest in the LCS contract began following the release of a report on the project by the bipartisan Public Accounts Committee following a long delay.
This was followed by the public disclosure of the classified investigation report prepared by former auditor-general Ambrin Buang.
Last week, former navy chief and Boustead Heavy Industries Corp managing director Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor was charged with criminal breach of trust over the project.
Yesterday, meanwhile, prime minister Ismail pledged transparency in the investigation into the LCS contracts, saying the government would not allow the issue to become the subject of speculation.