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by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should request the Auditor-General to take over LKIM as well as use his powers to suspend LKIMís board of directors and management pending completion of ACAís investigations. The public, especially fishermen, are disgusted at the allegation and counter-allegations of corruption between LKIM Board Chairman Adam Abdul Hamid and LKIM director-general Datuk Annas Khatib Jaafar.
Realising public disgust and disapproval, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has imposed a gag order directing both parties to stop the media war. Imposing a gag order would not resolve the corruption allegations and is only covering up the problem. Such attempts at covering up are contrary to Abdullahís intention to wipe out corruption which he admitted is a global problem with serious consequences for Malaysia.
Instead of fulfilling its statutory duty of looking after the interests of fishermen, LKIM appears to be more intent in dabbling in business enterprises completely unrelated to the fishing industry as well as engage in abuse of power and financial malpractices. Adam had lodged a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency three months ago over the RM55 million spent by the LKIM management on a complex in Kuala Kedah, Kedah without the knowledge of the LKIM board of directors comprising:-
Adam claimed contracts worth millions of ringgit were awarded without open tender to the same contractor through direct negotiations. Adam also questioned LKIMís decision to acquire a RM 4.45 million five-storey building in Kota Baru where a RM445,000 advance payment has been paid.
In retaliation against Adam, the LKIM management had reported to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) on Jan 29 2007 against Majuikan Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM). Majuikan, whose chairman is Adam Abdul Hamid, has been accused of acting improperly in a transaction involving an offshore loan last year. LKIM director-general Datuk Annas Khatib Jaafar said the ACA report questioned Majuikanís decision to become a loan guarantor for a fisheries product company without the knowledge of the LKIMís board of directors.
These are serious allegations by senior directors within LKIM against each other involving tens of millions of ringgit of public funds. Similar to allegations of corruption and abuse of power by former Sabah ACA director Ramli Manan against his Director-General Datuk Zulkipli Mahmood, these allegations of corruption within LKIM by senior officials can not be treated lightly.
ACA must act quickly against those who have committed wrongdoings. Until the investigations are completed, those involved have no right to continue carrying on their duties in Majuikan and should step aside or be suspended from their duties for having strayed so far from its primary responsibility of looking after the interests of fishermen.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP