COMMENT | Just before we broke the story of the inflated prices paid by Mara Incorporated Sdn Bhd (Mara Inc) for the purchase of two buildings in Melbourne in 2016, Australian journalist Nick McKenzie and I were hampered in many ways.
There were several roadblocks and our official letters and emails to both Mara Inc's then chairperson Mohd Lan Allani and the former CEO Abdul Halim Rahim went unanswered. The secretary refused to put through our calls.
But we persevered. Using our (mostly McKenzie’s) resources, we chanced upon an affidavit of John Bond, a doting father who had done construction work on a building owned by a group of Malaysians but had been not paid for it.
(McKenzie is an award-winning investigative journalist working for The Age and produces the 'Four Corners' documentary programme for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
The saga started when an accountant, Andrew Yeo, a senior partner in Pitcher Partners, assigned the case to a bright young man, Odie Henzel. He took up Bond’s case to recover the fees owed and it opened the Pandora’s box of the dirty deals which Mara Inc was allegedly involved in.
If only Warissa Properties Pte Ltd had paid Bond, who was commissioned to install the doors and windows of the Dudley House (photo below), the perpetrators would be enjoying their ill-gotten money without worrying about spending time in jail.
Three years ago, I met Yeo in Melbourne, who had partial success is getting back part of the money due to Bond. The Australian Federal Police lamented then that the Malaysian authorities were slow in responding to a mutual legal assistance (MLA) request. Well, that was before...