NEWS

Kickbacks in other Mara Aussie property buys?

Published
Modified 24 Jun 2015, 8:31 am

PKR-linked NGO National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) is asking the government to come clean on whether Mara's purchase of three other properties in Australia also involved kickbacks.

This comes after Australian-based newspaper The Age reported that Mara, a government agency, purchased an apartment block dubbed "The Dudley" in Melbourne at an inflated price, the excess of which was channelled back to Mara officials as kickbacks.

"If the allegation of corruption in the purchase of The Dudley has basis, the prime minister must instruct a full and holistic investigation of other property purchases which involved hundreds of millions of ringgit in public funds," NOW directors Rafizi Ramli and Akmal Nasir said in a joint press statement today.

Rafizi is Pandan MP and PKR vice-president while Akmal is PKR Youth strategy director.

The duo zoomed in on the three other purchases made by Mara using shelf companies based in tax-havens, which was also reported by The Age .

The properties are located at 746 Swanston Street, 51 Queen Street and 333 Exhibition Street, all in Melbourne.

"Is it true that the total of four property purchases cost a total of RM244.47 million and were all the transactions at reasonable or inflated prices?" they asked.

The Age estimated the property on Swanston Street was worth A$23.5 million while the properties on Queens Street and Exhibition Street were worth a combined A$40 million.

Rafizi and Akmal also questioned why Mara has companies based in tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, in the case of the purchase of The Dudley.

Yesterday, The Age reported that Mara spent A$22.5 million (RM65 million) in public funds to purchase The Dudley in Melbourne.

The purchase, which among others involved a former politician, was overpriced by A$4.75 million (RM13.7 million).

The news report said the extra RM13.7 million paid was laundered out of Australia and paid as bribes to the Malaysian officials responsible for the purchase.

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