By Royce Tan | The Star
Six banks and six proxies in two countries, this was allegedly how Tan Sri Musa Aman pocketed US$63.3mil (RM264mil) as bribes to offer logging concession contracts to 16 companies.
Musa, 67, the former Sabah Chief Minister, was slapped with 35 charges of graft at the Sessions Court here. One of the six proxies includes himself.
The offences were allegedly committed at eight locations in Singapore and Hong Kong between Dec 20, 2004, and Nov 6, 2008.
He pleaded not guilty before Judge Rozina Ayob to all the charges under section 11(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 for accepting gratification by agent.
Musa, who is also Sabah’s Sungai Sibuga assemblyman, allegedly received three payments from one Lim Nyuk Foh between 2004 and 2005 amounting to US$1.3mil (RM5.4mil) as an inducement to grant logging concession contracts to Syarikat Bountiful Returns Sdn Bhd.
In 18 other charges, Musa allegedly received payments from a Looh Chai Boon between 2005 and 2008 totalling US$18.7mil (RM78mil) where logging concession contracts were granted to Syarikat Segar Tepat Sdn Bhd, J.V. Lestari Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Eden Region Sdn Bhd, Gasing Selatan Sdn Bhd, and Syarikat Tetap Simfoni Sdn Bhd.
Musa also allegedly received US$20.3mil (RM84.7mil) in three payments from Chia Tien Foh for contracts granted to Syarikat Tamabina Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Sabapioneer Sdn Bhd, and Syarikat Danagaya Sdn Bhd.
Chia’s name also appeared in 13 other charges where he acted as a recipient for 13 payments to Musa.
The following three charges relate to three payments in 2006 and 2007 from Mazlan Zakaria totalling US$3.6mil (RM15mil) for logging contracts awarded to Syarikat LR Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Lembah Mayang Sdn Bhd, and Fast Progress Sdn Bhd,
Musa was also charged with allegedly receiving US$4mil (RM16.7mil) from Lo Man Heng in 2006 for a contract awarded to Syarikat Maju Sinar Network Sdn Bhd.
Another two charges were allegedly for payments received from Nasir Yeo Guan Hock in 2007 amounting to US$8.9mil (RM37mil) for logging contracts to Syarikat Innokita Sdn Bhd, Segar Tepat, J.V. Lestari, Eden Region, and Gasing Selatan.
Yeo’s name was also mentioned in three other charges where he acted as a proxy for Musa.
The remaining five charges against Musa were for payments allegedly received in 2008 from Nip Wing Hon (US$650,000 or RM2.7mil) for a contract to Syarikat Asiatic Lumber Industries Sdn Bhd and from Ngui Ing Chuan (four payments totalling US$5.7mil or RM23.8mil) for contracts to Syarikat Eramewa Sdn Bhd.
Besides Chia and Yeo, Musa’s other alleged proxy recipients were Richard Christopher Barnes (14 receipts), Ark Capital Technologies Ltd (three receipts), and Starwater Corporation Ltd (one).
The bank accounts were from Citibank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank, UBS AG Bank, Credit Suisse, and Fortis Private Banking.
It took two court interpreters to read all the charges to Musa.
Judge Rozina granted Musa RM2mil bail in two sureties and ordered him to surrender both his civil and diplomatic passports.
She also ordered Musa to remain in the peninsula until the full amount is settled.
Musa managed to post bail.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had initially requested for a RM5mil bail in two sureties and for all Musa’s passports to be surrendered.
Musa’s lead counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad mitigated for the amount to be lowered to RM1mil, saying that RM5mil was exorbitant and that the quantum should not be punitive.
He also said his client has been fully cooperative with the authorities.