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August 31, 2012

Royal Blunder! – William And Kate Are Set To Meet Musa In Sabah!

Filed under: Corruptions,Logging — Pengayau @ 11:46 am
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“Oh No!” – Are the UK’s Royal Couple set for a Dirty Handshake?

Taken from Sarawak Report

Today’s confirmation by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland that it has opened a criminal prosecution against the banking group UBS, over suspected money-laundering on behalf of Musa Aman, looks set to cause an awkward diplomatic upset for the UK.

After all, the royal couple Wills and Kate are right now packing their bags to give Musa a friendly visit!

Sarawak Report first exposed back in May the evidence that the Sabah Chief Minister has taken tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks for issuing licences to chop down what remains of Sabah’s rain forests.

And we have laid out damning details of the money laundering operation conducted by the Musa and his associates through UBS accounts in a number of articles.

Details of bank statements and of the official investigations by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and also the Hong Kong authorities into the affair were made public in our series of exposes and the evidence was sent to Switzerland, where the Bruno Manser Fund requested the prosecution against UBS.

Yet, despite this mounting evidence, UK officials have refused to heed warnings against the planned visit to the state by the British heir to the throne and his new wife.

The visit is due to take place between September 11-19th, as part of a Royal Tour of the Commonwealth in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60th year on the throne.  They will also be visiting Singapore and the Solomon Islands.

Photo-opportunity?

Great publicity – but could it now all backfire?

To begin with the choice of Sabah might have seemed perfect publicity for the environment conscious Royal Family.  After all the trip is being promoted as an “exotic visit to the Borneo Jungle”.

Just in the past few hours the British press has printed exciting details of plans to feature the Prince and his wife looking daring in lush forest canopies and cuddling up to cute baby orang-utans.

Given Musa’s energetic ‘greenwash’ PR of recent months, the objective has been to praise Musa for ‘slowing’ Sabah’s rate of deforestation, according to UK officials.  They are accepting claims that he now wants to protect what is left of the jungle.

However, for months Sarawak Report has been warning the Royal Palace and the British Foreign Office against becoming associated with Musa Aman’s new campaign to present Sabah as an eco-friendly state, when in fact the Danum Valley Reserve which they will be visiting is a small oasis in one of the world’s worst environmental disaster zones and the Chief Minister is still selling concessions for kickbacks throughout the state.

Sarawak Report has also warned that proof of Musa Aman’s timber corruption is now in the public domain, showing how the destruction of Sabah’s jungle since the early 1990s has largely been driven by his own greed, first as the Head of Yayasan Sabah (The Sabah Foundation which is the trustee of its national forests) and then as the Chief Minister.

There is evidence that over US$90million dollars have been money-laundered through accounts associated with Aman and his key conspirators, a family friend Michael Chia and the Sabah lawyer Richard Christopher Barnes.

For these reasons Sarawak Report has repeatedly pleaded against the Royal Couple being encouraged to endorse a man whose criminality has ruined the jungle that they say they want to see protected!

This is a photo-opportunity that could go badly wrong.

Why endorse a suspected criminal?

Musa and his forest Chief Sam Manan altered the contour maps to allow logging of these once protected steep mountain areas of the state

Despite warnings from Sarawak Report just last week that Switzerland was about to launch its criminal prosecution over Musa’s money, the British High Commission is allowing this visit to proceed!

This opens the Royal Couple to charges of complete hypocrisy.  They will of course be staying in pure luxury in the jungle resort in Danum Valley (a project sponsored by the world’s largest palm oil company, Malaysia’s government-controlled Sime Darby, while all around them millions of hectares of oil palm plantations are still being rolled out by their corrupted hosts.

The questionable judgement of such a visit is made even more severe by its timing, just as Malaysia approaches a crucial election.

What business has Britain to give such an endorsement to a notoriously corrupted and autocratic government, which has remained in power for longer than almost any other in the world?

After 50 years, who can still argue that BN has not cheated or bribed its way to its various ‘election successes’? Furthermore, evidence shows that more money is being stolen from the public in Malaysia and secreted out to foreign bank accounts, like Musa’s, than in practically any other country in the world.

Yet, it seems the royal advisors on this tour are preferring to present a lie rather than cancel the trip or upset their corrupted host, the Chief Minister of Sabah. They would rather the Royal Couple shake the hand through which a hundred million dollars of timber corruption money has passed than take a stand against the forces of corruption that are destroying Borneo!

Eco-friendly? Musa has just signed over 1/3 of Sabah’s forest reserve to ‘mosaic plantations’. He is selling off the licences in return for kickbacks

Most of that money has been stolen from the poor people of the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak, whose natural resources have been filched by their politicians, while they have been left in the deepest poverty.

At a time when Malaysia is at last waking up to these shocking truths and when the opposition parties are defying persecution and abuses against them to present for the first time some kind of real challenge to BN’s forces of oppression, is it right for Britain to prop them up with such a high profile visit by its as yet untainted young royal couple?

The cries in Malaysia and even in Musa’s own BN party in Sabah are now becoming deafening for his removal and his position is more precarious than ever.

How he will thank William and Kate, for stretching out their hands and offering him just the lifeline he needed with this visit and their silly praises for his greenwash PR about the ‘eco-friendly’ policies of Sabah.

Swiss Attorney General opens criminal case against UBS over Malaysian money-laundering scandal

Filed under: Corruptions — Pengayau @ 11:25 am
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(BERN, SWITZERLAND). Switzerland’s Attorney General has opened a criminal case against UBS, the Swiss banking group, over suspected money-laundering of timber corruption proceeds from the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo. This has been confirmed today by the Office of the Attorney General in the Swiss capital, Bern.

The case against UBS was opened on 29th August 2012, following a criminal complaint by the Bruno Manser Fund over the bank’s close ties with Musa Aman, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah. Musa Aman and his nominees have been accused of laundering over 90 million US dollars of corruption proceeds from the tropical timber business in Sabah, Borneo, through a number of UBS bank accounts in Hong Kong. Musa Aman also has a personal bank account with UBS in Zurich. According to the Bruno Manser Fund, UBS has failed to properly app

ly due diligence, as is required by law when dealing with Politically Exposed Persons (PEP). Musa Aman is not only head of the Sabah state government but also the brother of the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anifah Aman.The case is based on Switzerland’s tough anti-money-laundering legislation, which makes it a criminal offence for Swiss companies to be involved in laundering the proceeds of corruption and other crime in their worldwide activities.The Swiss case is hitting the Malaysian government at a critical moment, just two weeks before the announced visit of the British royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Duke and Duchess are planning to visit Sabah on 15th September 2012 in order to see the “largest remaining rainforest” at Danum Valley. Sabah’s head of government, Musa Aman, has personally benefited from the large-scale logging of the nearby tropical rainforests, one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats.

(31 August 2012)

Via Stop Timber Corruption

August 22, 2012

Sarawak Makes A Date On Australian TV


Taken from Sarawak Report

Australia’s longest-running and highly prestigious TV current affairs programme, Dateline, has just devoted a full half hour show to the problems of logging in Sarawak and to Taib Mahmud’s crazy plan to build 12 more dams in the state

Their veteran reporter, David O’Shea, spent days filming in Sarawak and interviewing people who had been flooded from their homes by Bakun,

He also visited some of the villages which have been suffering from gangster attacks on behalf of logging companies.

These are, of course, daily issues for the poor people of Sarawak and they are heard about daily on the show Radio Free Sarawak.  However, for many Australians what is happening to the people of Sarawak and to their beautiful forest will come as a shock and surprise.

David O’Shea – the Dateline journalist who toured Sarawak last month

O’Shea features the Ukit people of Bakun, who have been reduced to living in their old homes, which are now floating on the waters of the gigantic lake which has flooded their lands.

He also interviews many villagers, whose timber is being ripped out by Ta Ann, the company owned and run by Taib’s cousin, Hamed Sepawi.

Later on the programme he challenges Sepawi and a Sarawak Electricity Board spokesmen about why they are driving through 12 more unnecessary dams without even conducting the proper consultation and impact assessments first?

Sarawak Report also took part in an interview about the corruption that is the real reason behind the building of these dams and the destruction of Sarawak’s great forests.  However, Taib Mahmud himself refused several requests to be interviewed.  Does he not dare to face tough questions from journalists whom he cannot control?

Australian connection

Eco-wood? Tasmania’s old growth forests are being destroyed to supply Ta Ann’s sawmills

Australia has become increasingly embroiled in the controversial activities in the State of Sarawak in recent years through a series of ties that have been developed between Hamed Sepawi and theState of Tasmania.  These matters have been frequently highlighted on Sarawak Report.

To begin with, in 2008, Sepawi’s company Ta Ann signed a deal with Tasmania to log out large areas of its native forests, many of which had been earmarked for protection.  Outraged environmentalists then discovered that Sepawi was marketing this wood as environmentally friendly “eco-wood”.

Much of this wood was marketed in Japan, but the scandal also hit London during the recent Olympic Games, when it was discovered that Ta Ann had also falsely sold the flooring for the construction of the London Sports Dock, where basketball was to be played.  That contract was cancelled as were key contracts in Japan.

Dams – Hydro-Tasmania has now picked up a huge contract to consult on Sarawak’s dam projects. But, the risk of involvement in such controversial developments are raising questions in the state.

Meanwhile, in one of his many other roles as Chairman of SEB Hamed Sepawi has simultaneously engaged Hydro-Tasmania to help lead the construction of Taib’s planned wave of destructive dams, which will displace tens of thousands of people and destroy Sarawak’s remaining great rivers and jungles.

David O’Shea explores these tangled relationships between the state industries of Tasmania and the state industries of Sarawak, which of course are mired in the corruption and graft of Taib Mahmud.

March 19, 2011

Sarawak Report website has been CLONED!

Filed under: CyberWar,State Election,Taib Must Go — Pengayau @ 10:36 am
Tags: ,

We found out that Sarawak Report Website has been cloned.This cloned website has just starts operating 3 days ago based on their postings.When we first came across this CLONED Website,the only thing that went through our mind is “Lame,Pathetic and Desperate”

Sarawak Reports

We strongly believe that this “Shameless,Pathetic,Irresponsible” act being carried out by PBB/BN Bloggers/Cybertroopers who has been paid as high as RM5 K per month to kick start their Cyber Assault campaign against Anti Government/Anti Taib/Pro Opposition Blogs.Come on guys,you can try better than that next time ya?Whats next?Trying to cloned Radio Free Sarawak?

However,we had nothing to worried of because we know and we do believe that the Peoples of Sarawak  were not stupid to made fool of by this diversion tactics.Up untill now,they cant even dissmissed the “Credibilty” of series exposure by Sarawak Report for which,very well documented with proof and evidence to substantiate their allegations

It was also learnt that this Cybertroopers has received some “Training” from well known UMNO Blogger from MalayaWe were made to understand by a reliable source that this Cybertrooper were lead by one active Blogger by the name of Audie Chua.He is Ex PRS strongman alligned to Larry Sng faction before he get sacked from PRS by James Masing during their Party Crisis a few years back.It was also learnt that he is now with Pergerakan Pemuda SPDP 

According to our source,one Vice Chancelor from one ofthe University in Malaya said to be the Lead Strategist and he work together with Audie Chua.

Aziz Adenan Satem,the son of Tan Sri Adenan Satem who is the Special Adviser to the Chief Minister has been appointed as the head of Unit Media Baru PBB but he had done nothing.Instead of heading the UMB PBB to lead the Cyber Assault campaign agasint Pro Opposition bloggers,he had used all the funds to spearhead a Character Assasination campaign agaisnt their own leaders in PBB using a Blogs called Sebanaku Sarawak which they try to disguise as Pro Opposition Blogs.This is to “Kill” any leaders who become an obstacle for his father to be Heir of the Throne of Chief Ministership.

It is an open secret that he is not in a good relationship with YB Fadilah Yusof who is PBB Youth Chief and constantly they attack and discredit Fadillah in their Blogs posting.He work together with PBB Deputy Youth Chief by the name of Pandi Suhaili.But their dirty tactics has been expose.This has been revealed by Sebanaku2u  who had exchanged private message with us at Facebook

Back to the main topic,their Modus Operandi were to counter rebut all allegations and exposure by Sarawak Report and other Pro Opposition Blogs.Some sources leaked to us has confirmed that series of Training and Seminars has been held in Kuching by some “Personnel” from the  Special Bunch

This Training/Seminar was meant to provide some “Diversion with Provocative” tactics which the main agenda is to divert the attention from the REAL ISSUE in Sarawak which is the issues of Corruptions,Cronisyme and Land Grabbing of Chief Minister of Sarawak,Abdul Taib Mahmud

Last week,PBB Youths has lodged a Police Report agasint Radio Free Sarawak and demand for an investigation should be done as they claimed that Radio Free Sarawak broadcasting its malicious lies to the rakyat and also is an illegal Radio Station which constantly insigate the Peoples to go agaisnt the Government other than to disseminate the Anti Government sentiment

Let we quote :

Vice youth chief Pandi Suhaili said the movement felt relief with this assurance because it wants the radio station to stop from broadcasting its malicious lies to the rakyat.

“We are living in a multi-racial state by which it is of great importance for all of us to have a good relationship with all communities in order to have a peaceful life.

“Therefore, we must not condone any act of planting the seeds of hatred among the rakyat by irresponsible party such as RFS,”

However,they have yet to lodge a Police Report agaisnt Sarawak Report.This is very ironic since both the operators of Radio Free Sarawak and Sarawak Report has reveal their identity and they are the same individual who operate both Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak

So over and over again we had challenged PBB members to lodged a Police Report but seems like they prefer to keep their mouth shut when comes to Sarawak Report.There is an old saying “Silent is Golden”

So far,Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud neither denied or confirm all the exposure.His only reply when being asked by some reporters regarding the allegation which being exposed by the Whistleblower website is “Mischiveous” despite several report has been lodged to MACC but sadly,no action has been taken agaisnt him

So to all PBB/BN Bloggers/Cybertroopers,we beg you guys please,please do not stoop so low and resorts to such “Childish” tactics.It only shows how desperate you guys in defending the ever corrupt “Pehin Sri”

But wait,let we dedicate this You Tube video specially to you guys

“You Can Bend and Twist It,Misuse and Abuse It,But even God Cannot Change The Truth” ~Michael Levy~

Ps:The original website is www.Sarawakreport.org while the cloned version is www.Sarawakreports.org .The only different is the last letter S!!

Film Tribute To Ross Boyert


We quote from Sarawak Report

It was Ross Boyert who helped confirm to Sarawak Report that the ultimate owner of these family property companies run by the Taibs was indeed the Chief Minister himself.  This is a fact that Taib has always sought to hide, but Boyert was able to hand us documented proof.  We have since frequently asked the Chief Minister to confirm or deny this ownership and to explain how in his role as Chief Minister he could have legitimately earned such enormous wealth.

Boyert had regarded himself as a friend of the Taib family and said he met the Chief Minister and his late wife Laila on a number of occasions.  He told us there was never any doubt that it was Taib who was in control of his family’s businesses.  He told us that he had not realised until much later that the buildings had been bought out of illegal profits from deforestation.

However, he paid an enormous price for acting as a whistle-blower against the Taibs.  They retaliated with a ruthless lawsuit that saw him bankrupted and left homeless and penniless.

He and his wife Jonni also complained to Sarawak Report that they had suffered sustained intimidation during the course of that lawsuit, which left them unable to pick up the pieces of their life.  Last October, a few weeks after he gave us his story, he was found dead in a rare form of suspected suicide with a bag taped around his head in an LA motel room.

We filmed with the Boyerts and came to like and respect them.  We now present that story as a tribute to their bravery in speaking out.

March 17, 2011

Onn Mahmud and Australia’s Most Expensive Penthouse!


Stolen from Sarawak Report 

A breath-taking duplex penthouse with spectacular views in a top Sydney location.  The press leaped on the story when this apartment sold for a record Aus$20 million in 2008.  But who was the ‘undisclosed prominent businessman’ who had been able to afford Australia’s most expensive flat and who had sold it?  What we can be certain of is that the deal involved a certain ‘prominent’ family from Sarawak, more particularly Onn Mahmud, the brother of the Chief Minister.

Australia’s most expensive flat, who could find the money to pay $20 million on one appartment?

We know that Onn was involved in the development or purchase of what is known as Ten Wylde Street, located in the prime Sydney harbour location Potts Point,  because of the evidence that was brought out in a court case some months before the story broke.  Onn was being sued for millions of dollars by a consultant who included in the bill his fees for the “development and management” of Ten Wylde Street.

Spectacular and expensive – can the Taibs outbid the rest of Australia to gain Sydney’s most expensive flat?

The court case and resulting publicity came at a very difficult moment for Onn, because attention was at the same time being drawn to his vast and unaccountable wealth by the Japanese newspapers, who were following up a prosecution by their own tax authorities against local shipping cartels.  In 2007 the story was coming out that shipping companies had been paying un-declared timber kickbacks to a mystery company in Hong Kong that was plainly linked to Onn Mahmud.

Trendy, modern glass. A total of 530 square meters in prime downtown Sydney.

Onn has a base in Sydney and had developed a number of business interests in the name of Kesuma Holdings, a company involving himself and his wife, son and daughter, however this was to shortly close down in 2009.

Quite astonishing luxury – the product of timber corruption?

When this property was brought onto the market it was marketed expensively on the internet and sold off-plan.  In fact the development was part of a refurbishment of an existing rather more old-fashioned, brick serviced-apartments building and the work is still in progress.  Just a few days ago the enterprise hit the news again when newspapers reported that the original sale deal had quietly fallen through and the original developers have moved on, selling the entire project for just about same price that this one flat was originally supposedly bought for – around $17.5- 20 million.  Did somebody have more money than sense during the property boom?

This is all off-plan imaging! A dream that is losing someone a lot of money…

Sarawak Report’s on the ground reporters in Sydney have told us that Ten Wylde Street is still very much an on-going development.  The website that advertised these glossy pictures at the time of the Aus $20 million dollar deal has now been closed down.

Needless to say, Onn Mahmud’s name has never been publicly associated with the project.  Leaving some to question whether he was the developer of the whole building project or just the mystery buyer?

What Onn Mahmud failed to deny however, when this whole matter came to court in mid-2007 and 2008, was that there had been work done on his behalf regarding the “development and management” of Ten Wylde Street, Potts Point.  It has left the rest of us questioning, where did he get all that money?

March 3, 2011

BN starts a dirty propaganda war to rubbish Radio Free Sarawak

Filed under: Taib Must Go — Pengayau @ 3:29 am
Tags: , ,

Written by  Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

BN has created massive publicity for Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) and the Sarawak Report (SR). The attention was generated when BN criticised Clare Rewcastle Brown, the founder of RFS and the author of the blog SR.

The outpouring of support for Clare and the Iban broadcaster and activist, Peter John Jaban, has been overwhelming. Overall, there has been a surge of 50 % on both RFS and the SR website, or an increase from 20 thousand a day to 30 thousand hits; most of the comments have been supportive.

There have been attempts by BN and a few individuals to denigrade Clare’s efforts. A cross-section of Malaysians, both those who were new to the RFS and SR sites and those who were regular supporters, were asked for their views on whether Clare was interfering in Sarawak’s affairs.

One person said, “I am annoyed how some people are saying that only a “white woman” can stand up to fight Taib……I think those people, may have good intentions or maybe they are misguided. Every effort is worthy of the cause. At the same time, these people are belittling the efforts of the Penan who risk their lives battling with the authorities at the blockades. There’s also Baru Bain, Nicholas Mujah and many others. They who are bombarded on a daily basis with death threats and thugs intimidating them.”

Another person who was new to RFS was particularly furious: “Clare is part of a team which we can loosely term the ‘Movement to Overthrow Taib and Fight for the Environment and for Justice’. They may be separate units but they have the same overall objective. If these others had protested about Taib’s corruption in Malaysia, they would be arrested for sedition. Clare would have, at best, been deported and at worst, been jailed.

When Malaysia Chronicle contacted Clare, she said, “I only got involved in this because this was something the local campaigners just could not do, but it was badly needed. As you say, anyone on the spot who had been putting out the information we have, would long since have been banged-up, which is why Raja Petra Kamarudin had to flee to the UK. This is the point isn’t it?”

She said that to mark Taib’s 30th year in office, two ‘Stop Timber Corruption’ marches – one in London and another in Ottawa, Canada had been arranged.

Despite being held on a cold, wet and windy Monday morning, the march in London was well attended and proceeded smoothly.

Several British and other foreigners joined in solidarity with the many Malaysians who were protesting about Taib’s corruption.

One man from Kenya said that his country was also suffering from the same problems of corruption. He was glad to offer his support to a worthy cause and would be joining more of the protests that were arranged.

Another Singaporean said that she had stayed in a longhouse near Sarikei and had seen for herself the suffering of the indigenous people. She was shocked to learn that millions of dollars had been spirited away by Taib and his family

A few people had come from as far away as Birmingham, Brighton and Norwich. A few had either lived or worked in Sarawak and were aware of the environmental disaster which Taib’s indiscriminate logging has caused. Others were shocked at the way he treated the indigenous people of Sarawak.

The British who were in the group did not think that Clare had done anything wrong.

One said, “I am glad she and Peter have teamed up to fight and expose Taib’s corruption. As a Brit, I certainly do not want my country to be involved in Taib’s money laundering, with his billions stashed here in the UK in property or other business concerns.”

Another said, “If Clare was born in Sarawak, then she has every right as a Sarawakian by birth and as a dutiful citizen, to clamp down on international crime syndicates, which Taib seems to represent.”

Back in Malaysia, BN and Taib are running scared. A week after they went public, Sarawak BN youth chief Fadillah Yusof said they would be forming a legal team to study the RFS’s contents to see if it breached Malaysian laws.

“If they do, we’ll lodge a police report against them and we want relevant agencies to take action,” said Fadillah.

It appears that BN are trying to hijack Clare’s and Peter’s efforts.The propaganda war has started. Already Umno diehards are claiming that the people who attended the marches in London were paid £100 each, to take part.

Perhaps Umno are trying to tell us that this is their preferred method for rewarding the people who attend their ‘ceramahs’, where coachloads of people are driven in from outlying areas and given between RM20-30 each to attend and afterwards treated to a lavish makan.

No wonder BN’s attendance is always high and can fill up stadiums.

March 1, 2011

Pictures from Anti-Taib Stop Timber Corruption in London


Latest photos from the Stop Timber Corruption in London

Papa Orang Utan A.K.A Peter John Jaban!!

Pictures courtesy of Kakak Burung Tiung and more pictures here

The UK protest took place outside the London headquarters of Ridgeford Properties Ltd, the property company associated with Taib, at 9.30am GMT yesterday.

The protest in London is led by Peter John Jaban and Clare Rewcastle Brown. Peter John Jaban is the DJ of Radio Free Sarawak, an independent short-wave radio station which is broadcast from London. Peter John is the grandson of an Iban head-hunter from the rainforests of Sarawak. Clare Rewcastle Brown, a former BBC journalist, is the editor of Sarawak Report, a news website focussing on governance issues in the East Malaysian state on Borneo. Radio Free Sarawak and Sarawak Report were featured in the London Evening Standard earlier this week.

The Bruno Manser Fund, together with an international NGO coalition against Taib timber corruption, is asking the US authorities to freeze all Taib assets in the United States and to investigate the former Taib aide and whistleblower Ross Boyert’s allegations against the Taibs and the circumstances of his death.

Details of planned Taib street campaigns in the United States:

Seattle: Thursday, 3 March 2011, 12:00 p.m. outside the FBI Northwestern Regional Headquarters at 1110
3rd Avenue (corner Spring St)
San Francisco: Wednesday, 9 March 2011, 10:00 a.m. outside Citibank at 260 California Street
Phone contact for the United States:
Brihannala Morgan, The Borneo Project, Berkeley, California Tel. +1 415 341 7051
www.borneoproject.org
International campaign coordination: Bruno Manser Fund, Basel, Switzerland +41 61 261 94 74
http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/@bmf.ch
Sources used for this release: http://www.sarawakreport.org/; research by the Bruno Manser Fund.
Follow our campaign on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bmfonds

Bookmark this page for more updates – Stop Timber Corruption

Canada, UK governments asked to freeze Taib assets


From BMF

Canada, UK governments asked to freeze Taib assets

Protesters in front of the mansion of Jamilah Taib at Rockcliffe, Canada, defied ice and snow. Jamilah (Taib’s daughter) is a founding director of Sakto corporation and a major shareholder of Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS).

OTTAWA (CANADA) / LONDON (UK). Human rights and environmental campaigners from
Malaysia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Switzerland have today protested against corruption in front of property companies associated with the family of Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), the Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The protests took place in front of Sakto Corporation in Ottawa and Ridgeford Properties Ltd in central London.

The Canadian and British governments are being asked to freeze the assets of nine Taib-associated
companies in Canada and two companies in the UK which are estimated to be worth hundreds of
millions of US dollars.

The Canadian companies blacklisted by the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund as being associated with the Taib family are Adelaide Ottawa Corporation (Business number 2028546); City Gate International Corporation (446027-8); Glowell Development Corporation (1545868); Preston Building Holding Corporation (2108122), Sakto Development Corporation Pte. Ltd. (155207-4), Sakto Corporation (340439-1), Sakto Management Services Corporation (655948-4), Tower One Holding Corporation (2028542), Tower Two Holding Corporation (2018543). The British companies named on the Taib family assets blacklist are Ridgeford Properties Ltd (3268801) and Ridgeford Consulting Ltd
(5572163). Ridgeford Properties Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian City Gate International Corporation.

The Bruno Manser Fund also disclosed that it had lodged a detailed complaint with Jeanne M.
Flemming, Director of Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), in June 2010 already. Hitherto, FINTRAC has left the complaint unanswered. Earlier this week, the Bruno Manser Fund criticized the Canadian authorities for their close business ties with Taib-family companies. No less than eleven Ontario Government Ministries are occupying offices at Sakto’s Preston Square Tower III in Ottawa.

Abdul Taib Mahmud has been Chief Minister, Finance Minister and State Planning and Resources Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak since 1981. He has abused his political power in a spectacular way for personal gains and has managed to turn the resource-rich state of Sarawak on Borneo into his own private estate. Taib has been particularly criticized for the destructive logging of hundreds of thousands of hectares of tropical rainforest and for the marginalization of the state’s indigenous communities. Taib’s fortune is estimated to be worth several billion US dollars.

(28 February 2011)

February 28, 2011

Miracle Harvest Yields Miracle Profits for Raziah & Robert!


 

From Sarawak Report

The company Miracle Harvest Sdn Bhd, belonging to Raziah Mahmud, the sister of the Chief Minister, and her husband Robert Geneid, has certainly yielded some miraculous profits.  They are particularly miraculous because the company has not yet started officially operating, according to Malaysia’s Register of Companies!

Like so many of Razia’s land companies, Miracle Harvest, incorporated 15th June 2005, uses the business address of Kumpulan Parabena Sdn Bhd.  Kumpulan Parabena is run by the Geneids and we have revealed that the Chief Minister also holds a substantial stake through the holding company Mesti Bersatu.   According to our researches the land titles which have been recently awarded to list of different companies based at this address amount to an area greater than Singapore!

Company Records

Miracle Harvest’s details in the Register of Companies. The address is the same as Kumpulan Parabena’s offices in Jalan Sungai, Padungan. It has yet to “commence operations”, but the State of Sarawak has already handed it 12,000 hectares!

In the case of Miracle Harvest, the approval had already been given by the Land Regsitry for an award to the company of 12,000 hectares for the purpose of oil palm plantation (OPL) three weeks before its actual incorporation date!  Land titles handed out to a company before it even comes into existence!  A case of ’Miraculous Pre-conception’?

So, can one detect the Hand of God behind such amazing developments, or perhaps just that of Abdul Taib Mahmud, who doubles up as the Head of the Land Custody and Development Agency?  The LCDA has been taking Native Customary Lands in the name of the State Government and then handing it to close Taib family members like his sister Raziah and son Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib and several others in a pattern that has been escalating in recent years.

Land Registry Records

Robert Geneid is the person registered as the representative of Miracle Harvest in the Land Registry. His office at Kumpulan Parabena is the contact address
From stall-holder’s son to millionaire – Geneid made it big after marrying Raziah!

We can see that in the case of Miracle Harvest Raziah’s husband Robert Geneid is clearly marked as the contact for the Land Title in the Land Registry.  He also lists his office and phone number as that of the Kumpulan Parabena HQ in Kuching, thus directly implicating the Chief Minister in the deal, who has a major stake in Kumpulan Parabena.

Cheap premiums mean the state loses revenue

Our research indicates that the land given to Miracle Harvest was indeed handed out very cheap indeed and now commands a far higher market price. A total of 11 lots were handed to Miracle Havest along with a sister company also owned by the Geneids, Green Ace Resources, on just one day 25.5.2005.  They amounted to 20,000 hectares for an over all price of just RM 15 million.  The stated purpose for the hand out is”OPL”, meaning Oil Plantation.

Elia Abas Geneid, Raziah’s daughter (left with champagne bottle) has also benefitted from huge hand outs of land from her Uncle Taib’s government department

This low premium marked a very poor return for the taxpayer and a vast potential profit for the Mahmuds.  Worse, such premiums are generally not demanded up front of Taib family members in deals like these.  The payments are allowed to be deferred and delayed or paid in installments – usually (according to insiders) until the land has been sold on at a healthy profit!

Kwantas’s Annual Report of 2008, shows the acquisition of 70% of Miracle Harvest and Green Ace Resources was made after the granting of the Land Titles

However, the ownership quickly moved on from the Mahmuds of course.  In 2006 the publicly-listed palm oil plantation company Kwantas announced that it had acquired 70% of the shares of Miracle Harvest (MHSB), along 70% of the sister company Green Ace Resources, which is also registered under the Kumpulan Parabena address.  It can only be as part of the same set of deals that Green Ace Resources (GARSB) was handed a huge area of 7,000 hectares in Mukah in the region of the Sungai Narub Reserve Forest on the very same day in 2005 that Miracle Harvest gained its own land titles.

Kwantas announced it had payed around RM 17million for the 70% purchase of these two companies, whereas the original premium for the entire amount charged earlier from Parabena was circa RM 15 million.

Sarawak Report would therefore like to ask who Kwantas paid for the acquisition which was made several months after Miracle Harvest/Green Ace acquired the Land Titles? Was it Miracle Harvest, which was still not yet officially operating, according to the Company Register?  We also ask why it is that, although Kwantas had acquired most of the shares of the company, Miracle Harvest continues to be based at the Parabena Office and is represented by Robert Geneid? 

Sister companies. MHSB handed 12 thousand of hectares on 25.5.2005 via Robert Geneid, now 70% owned by Kwantas

Sister companies. Green Ace Resources handed 7,000 hectares via Robert Geneid 25.05.2005. Later 70% acquired by Kwantas – Now up for sale!

Up for sale!

We can now reveal that Kwantas has just started to dispose of its shareholdings in these land titles, giving us a good view of the genuine current market price!  The State of Sarawak originally received just RM 5 million for the 7,000 hectares of land awarded to Green Ace Resources, yet last month Kwantas announced an agreement to sell its 70%  stake for a whopping  RM 32.4 million!  This means that the 30% of the shares still held by the Geneids are worth roughly half that amount – the same that was charged for the entire 20,000 hectares property portfolio handed to them by Raziah’s brother and business partner, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, in 2005.

Sell-off, subject to conditions, is underway to Golden Agri Resources, part of Indonesia’s vast Sinar Mas timber company

The real miracle would be if Raziah and Robert failed to cash in on their back-breaking efforts!

NCR Land?

Selling on land with just a provisional lease? Tricky now that the Native Land Rights cases are starting to do so well in court!

Of equal concern is the status of this land which is being sold on.  The Kwantas statement makes clear that the land  lease is still provisional.  This means that officially some further agreement is needed before oil palm clearances can begin.

In practice the ‘provisional’ aspect of such licences are frequently and disgracefully brushed aside in Sarawak, as plantation companies simply ignore the existence of Native Customary Rights of the communities whose land they take.

Given they have paid so much money to the Head of Government’s relatives to get it their attitude is perhaps understandable?  Certainly, in a recent court case the judge laid the blame for a similar situation on the state government for handing out NCR land rather than on the company that had bought the titles.  It is likely that as the number of native land rights succeeding in the courts increase that platation companies will be less willing to buy such plots from Taib’s many relatives!

Is this land suitable for oil palm? The lease is only ‘provisional’

So what is the problem with Lot 1 Block 194 Oya-Dalat Land District at Sungai Narub, Mukah?  Is it disputed Native Customary Rights Land?  is it part of the Sungai Narub Reserve Forest?  Or could it be both?

Greenwash peril?

The company to whom this land is being sold is the massive Golden Agri Resources Sdn Bhd, which is the Indonesian Oil Palm arm of the notorious timber giant Sinar Mas.

Golden Agri made a major ‘Green PR’ gesture earlier this month, Feb 9th, when it announced to the world that it will in future stop all further deforestation in Indonesia.  Can we be reassured that Raziah and Robert’s miracle Company will miraculously manage to fulfil the new-found green and ethical credentials of their new buyer as this sale proceeds?

February 27, 2011

Anti-corruption blog founder Clare returns fire at M’sian authories


Anti-corruption blog founder Clare returns fire at M’sian authories

Anti-corruption blog founder Clare returns fire at M'sian authories

Clare Rewcastle Brown, the founder of Radio Free Sarawak and the author of the Sarawak Report blog, has returned fire at Malaysian authorities who said her radio broadcasts were illegal and accused her to trying to stir up trouble in their country.

RFS and Sarawak Report are dedicated to exposing the alleged corruption of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and removing him from power. The fabulously wealthy Taib has ruled Sarawak with a fist of iron for four decades and is due to call for state-wide polls by July this year.

“This has been the favourite weapon that politicians of his ilk have tried to use to deliberately intimidate people who disagree with them politically or even people who want to exercise their right to vote for the opposition in the upcoming election,” Clare told Malaysia Chronicle.

She was referring to Sarawak BN Backbenchers Club chairman Abdul Karim Hamzah who called on the relevant agencies to act against the station because “RFS incited Sarawakians to go against the state government in the next state election and breed inter-racial hatred”.

“Hamzah is a lawyer, so he knows full well that criticising corruption and failures by his political party, BN, is not the same as ‘going against the government’,” Clare said.

“In his remarks he implies that it is somehow illegal to encourage people to vote for the opposition!!  How can it be illegal – Isn’t that the whole point of a democracy?  Or does Mr Hamzah admit that he is part of a dictatorship in all but name?”

Malaysia to block RFS broadcast

It might seen incredulous to some especially those used to a more advanced system of democracy, but Hamzah was not alone in calling for action against Clare and her team.

According to the Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Joseph Salang, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission should act against RFS as it was an illegal and unlicensed radio station.

“I have heard about its existence. I have also been made to understand it is based in Malacca and not in London as believed. If there are reports against it, the MCMC will investigate. If the contents contravene the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, it can block its broadcast,” Joseph had said.

But the deputy minister may have made another blunder. RFS is really based in London and just four months ago, Malaysia Chronicle along with other media was invited to a sneak preview of its operations room and introduced to its staff.

Clare also pointed out that Sarawak Report focussed on exposing corruption, not on adopting any political stance.

“Mr Hamzah also clearly implies in his remarks that it is somehow wrong or illegal to expose the wrong-doings of people in power. Does he therefore think it is the right thing to do to cover up corruption and wrong-doing by people in power and that people who refuse are ‘going against the state?” she asked.

“As a lawyer, he knows perfectly well that people should be allowed to speak up against corruption.  He just wants to keep BN’s position of power so that he and his friends can keep on abusing it to make even more money out of the people of Sarawak.”

“As he put it in a recent interview, he thinks it is ‘only fair’ that politicians like his boss Taib should be able to ‘take the opportunities’ that come their way in political office – in Sarawak Report we have been laying out just what those ‘opportunites’ are and how Taib and his cronies have profited.”

Hypocrisy of Malaysian authorities

Hamzah had also criticised her outspokeness and questioned her motives. Clare, a British citizen, was born in Sarawak. After a recent visit to the East Malaysian state, she had decided to take up the cudgels for the poor and downtrodden tribes that live in the state’s interior regions.

Environmentalists the world over have condemned Taib and the Malaysian government for allowing Sarawak’s unique rain forests to be logged without apparent control.

“It is strange that people would want to do things that are harmful to their own country. If anything, people with the right kind of mind will want to improve the situation in their own country and not destroy it,” Hamzah said.

Clare also denied that RFS had “stirred racial or religious hatred”.

“What we have shown is that there is a unity between all the tribes of Sarawak in how they have been swindled out of their lands and neglected and abused over the past years.  From the Ibans in Serian, to the Melanau in Pulau Bruit to the Chinese in Sibu, Bidayuh in Bengoh, Penan in the Baram region and every other racial group including Malays, they have all suffered from the land grabs,” she said.

“We have also pointed out some cases of disunifying discrimination in education and jobs on the part of the government and we have pointed to hypocrisy where YBs say one thing about their religion to their constituents while doing another thing to advance themselves in the discrimatory system set up by BN.”

Not a whimper from Taib, MACC or Putrajaya

The 51-year old sister-in-law of former British premier Gordon Brown said that widespread corruption and illegitimate political practices reported Sarawak Report were a matter of public record.

Yet, neither she nor RFS had heard from Taib, despite issuing several invitations to him to reply to their accusations.

Clare also took to task the Malaysian police and the MACC who despite the accusations on her blog, have “not shown the slightest interest” to probe Taib for his alleged wrongdoing.

“Karim Hamzah should be careful of drawing further attention to the key failings of BN’s own management of the government by the nature of the accusations he makes,” she said.

Related Stories:

Dep Minister: Radio Free S’wak in M’cca not London, we can ban it

Taib fires back at foreign NGOs for being “mischievous”

Interview with Clare Rewcastle Brown Part1: Taib will not last forever

Anti-Taib campaign to be taken to the streets of London and Ottawa

Act Now. Freeze Taib’s assets and order a probe, Pakatan dares Najib

Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law takes on Taib and corruption

The battle for Sarawak begins: Angels and Devils show hand

 

A White Lady vs The White Hair Monster and the winner is…….

February 26, 2011

Interview with Clare Rewcastle Brown Part1: Taib will not last forever


Interview with Clare Rewcastle Brown Part1: Taib will not last forever

Written by  Mariam Mokhtar for  Malaysia Chronicle

EXCLUSIVE When Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud first heard of an anonymous blog that attacked him and his family for alleged corruption, he laughed and brushed it aside like he would a pesky fly.

But the blog didn’t go away, and soon it sprouted a radio unit to reach more people in interior of the state where broadband is still a dream invention of the West.

And on Monday, Taib’s headache is bound to grow worse. Defenders of Sarawak’s indigenous communities and the Borneo rainforest have announced street protests in the United Kingdom and Canada against what they call his blatant corruption and deprivation of his people’s humanity.

Yes, the Sarawak Report blog and Radio Free Sarawak have turned out to be much more successful than its editor Clare Rewcastle Brown – the sister-in-law of former Bristish prime minister Gordon Brown – had hoped for.

She is now looking to achieve even greater impact and the quicker the better because state elections are due to be called anytime now. A window of opportunity has finally appeared for the downtrodden in the state. A massive journey still lies ahead but the first step must be paved by political transformation.

“BN have tried to give the impression that Taib, although he is old and highly discredited, will last forever. People need to discuss amongst themselves the fact that this is not true and that change is inevitable, so when and how do they want that to happen?” Clare said in the interview with Malaysia Chronicle.

Call her ambitious but she is fighting for the country of her birth. A British citizen, Clare has not forgotten she was born in Sarawak 51 years ago.

She is now fronting a crusade that many Sarawakians had wanted to begin but could never quite pull together. They and millions of other Malaysians and even people from other countries are now joining the battle for justice she began with her blog.

They have one common goal – to Save Sarawak. To stop the plunder of its natural resources, the pillage of its awesome rain forests, the rape of its unique tribes by loggers emboldened by decades of lax and greedy governanance by Taib and his team.

Far away in the federal capital in Putrajaya, Prime Minister Najib Razak looks on. Maybe he even clucks sympathetically with the Sarawakian people, but for sure, he lifts no finger to try and stop their hurt or heed their screams for help.

Malaysia Chronicle appends below Part One of the exclusive interview with Clare. Part Two will be published on Monday.

Chronicle: How many people in Sarawak, do you think listen to you? Are they mostly in the interior or towns? How effective is RFS in getting the message to the people?

Clare: It is always hard to judge the level of listeners, especially in this situation where we are broadcasting to remote communities, but we think we have many listeners and they are growing in numbers by the day.

Just as importantly we are listening to them.

Our aim is to provide an outlet where their concerns and what they say is treated as being interesting and important.

This isn’t just about what the Government wants to tell them it’s about what they want to tell the Government and others as well. Radio Free Sarawak is one platform where their voices can be heard.

Every day we make big efforts to get in touch with people from longhouses all over Sarawak and the stories they tell us about their land grab issues, their deprivation, their poverty and their lack of medical and other facilities, provide the real picture of what is happening to these previously silenced and suffering communities.

Through our radio show villagers can learn that their problems are not isolated and they share the same concerns and issues with other tribes in areas all over Sarawak.

These problems are largely caused by the corrupt way in which their country has been governed over the past decades.

Chronicle: With your main whistleblower, Boyert dead, is this a massive setback for Sarawak Report? How will you carry on? (Ross Boyert was Taib’s disaffected US aide who died in mysterious circumstances. The inquest into his death is still pending.)

(more…)

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