Probe Mara purchase of Melbourne property, MACC urged

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24, 2015: Graft-busters can bring to book wrongdoers who commit offences in Australia, as they are armed with sufficient legislation.“They can investigate and bring to justice all those involved if investigations show that there are sufficient evidence that corrupt practices have taken place,” Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) said today. Responding to allegations published in Australian media over Mara’s purchase of Dudley International House five storey apartment block in Melbourne, TI-M urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to set up a task force to conduct the probe.“It’s clear that MACC has sufficient power to investigate even though the alleged unlawful transactions may have been conducted in Australia,” TI-M president Datuk Akbar Satar said in the statement. “The MACC Act has extra-territorial provisions whereby corrupt acts performed overseas are also deemed as offenses committed in Malaysia.” This task force, he added, should look into the allegation that a certain group of Malaysian officials have used government investment funds to raise the bid price for the Melbourne property from A$17.8 million (RM51.5 million) to A$22.5 (RM65 million).The extra A$4.75 million (RM13.7 million) was then alleged to have been laundered out of Australia and paid as bribes in Malaysia. MACC could also seek the assistance from its Australian counterpart to assist it in securing the relevant evidence.

The investigative media report earlier this week further alleged that “Malaysian officials have also used other shelf companies in Singapore, which is regarded as a tax haven, to purchase properties in Queens Street and Exhibition Street in Melbourne’s Central Business District for around A$40mil (RM115mil).

“TI-M also lauded Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement over his Facebook and Twitter accounts assuring that authorities would conduct a comprehensive investigation.“If any wrongdoing is found, action will be taken.”