Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Perwaja Steel

Have you heard about Perwaja Steel? I think you do know about it. It is about the steel making company that went bankrupt in Malaysia. Well, I do have news about it. There are cases against Tan Sri Eric Chia but most importantly is the reason why he went missing after the company went bust. Well, here is the transcript of some details during cross examination of one of the persons in ACA handling the case. It has been taken from Sun2surf web edition on 10/04/2007

ACA did not record DrM's statement for Eric Chia's graft probe
R.Surenthira Kumar
KUALA LUMPUR (April 10, 2007): The Anti-Corruption Agency did not record a statement from former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the criminal breach of trust (CBT) case of former Perwaja Steel managing director Tan Sri Eric Chia, the court was told today.
ACA investigating officer Han Chee Rull said this in reply to questions posed by Chia's lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during a lengthy cross examination.

"Are you aware Dr Mahathir went to the Fukuyama plant, incidentally on his birthday, before the RM76.4 million contract was signed?" asked Muhammad Shafee.

(The Fukuyama plant belongs to NKK Corporation which had a staff exchange programme with Perwaja Steel under the RM76.4 million technical aid and assistance agreement.)

Han replied he did not know about such a visit.

"Are you also aware that Dr Mahathir was aware that the technical aid & assistance agreement will cost so much?" asked Muhammad Shafee, to which Han replied in the negative.

These questions were asked when Muhammad Shafee took Han meticulously through the documents compiled by the defence to check if Han, the ACA officer spearheading the investigation, had original copies of these documents.

Han showed sessions court judge Akhtar Tahir some of the original copies of the documents, admitting that he could not obtain or trace some of the other original documents.

"I am putting it to you that the investigations and charges initiated against my client was carried out due to political pressure," said Muhammad Shafee.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainel Abiden immediately objected, saying that unless Muhammad Shafee could establish the allegation with facts, the question was irrelevant.

Akhtar disallowed the question and told Muhammad Shafee to move on.

Han, replying to Muhammad Shafee, said he was also not aware of the correspondences between Chia and Mahathir in which the former MD had explained the situation of Perwaja to the then prime minister.

To another question whether he knew of a letter dated April 11, 1994, which Mahathir wrote to Chia stating the Finance Ministry had informed him (Mahathir) that Perwaja had not paid a sum of RM79 million, the details of which was not revealed, Han said he did not.

Han also said he was not aware of a letter sent by Chia to Mahathir replying to allegations hurled against him by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the alleged mismanagement of Perwaja.

When asked if he knew of a letter written by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin on Chia being relieved of his post as Perwaja MD and reappointed adviser on the advice of Mahathir, Han said he was not aware of it.

"In the course of your investigation, were you aware Chia had filed civil suits against NKK Corporation and also (DAP secretary-general) Lim Guan Eng, Malay Mail and its reporter Eddie Chua for defamation?" asked Muhammad Shafee.

Han replied he did not know about this.

Akhtar asked if the suits were filed before or after Chia was charged in court for the CBT case.

Muhammad Shafee, after checking with Chia, said the cases were filed earlier.

"I am putting it to you, the investigations against Chia was unfairly conducted?" said Muhammad Shafee to which Han disagreed.

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow for the prosecution to re-examine Han.

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