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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Deuty Minister is the Chairman of Silkway Cargo!

ACA urged to probe deputy minister
Beh Lih Yi
Nov 23, 07 5:29pm
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PKR has reiterated its call to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and police to take action against Deputy Works Minister Mohd Zin Mohamed for alleged involvement in money laundering.

The call was made in view of the recent arrest of Mohd Zin’s business partner Sheikh Farid Ahmed in Bangladesh for money laundering - a case in which the deputy minister was also implicated.

“We hope legal action will be taken against Mohd Zin (left)immediately,” PKR Kelana Jaya division secretary Faisal Mustaffa told a press conference yesterday.

He added that a ACA report was lodged against Mohd Zin in 2001 by a ‘whistleblower’ whom Faisal declined to name.

The deputy minister had denied involvement in such illegal activities.

Confession made

At the press conference, Faisal highlighted Bangladeshi newspaper reports in late July and August which said Sheikh Farid has been detained and was expected to be charged for money laundering.

A New Age report said Sheikh Farid has confessed during intelligence forces’ interrogation of having paid around RM4.2 million in monthly installments to Mohd Zin.

The duo were business partners in a Dhaka-based freight company, Silkways Cargo Services Ltd - the general sales agent of national carrier Malaysian Airlines (MAS) operating in Dhaka.

Sheikh Farid was the managing director while Mohd Zin chaired the board of directors.

Silkways was implicated in a scam in 2003 for under-declaring the weight of its cargo aboard MAS flights, causing losses up to RM3.6 million in monies forgone over the period of two years.

At the time, Mohd Zin has yet to be appointed a deputy minister. He was the Shah Alam MP and the BN Backbenchers Club chair then.

Not aware of arrest

Contacted for comment yesterday, Mohd Zin said he was not aware of Sheikh Farid’s arrest and insisted that he has not received money from the latter through illegal means.

“In America, we called it payment for lobbying work,” he said, referring to a sum of money that he received from the Bangladeshi for lobbying MAS to enter into a contract with Silkways.

He refused to divulge the amount of the money but said he has declared all his assets to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“The ACA is welcomed to investigate me,” the deputy minister added.

According to Mohd Zin, he has not been in touch with Sheikh Farid - who approached him in 2000 - for a long time.

He also said he no longer has any interest in Silkways and argued that he has never been officially registered as a director in the company.

“I found out that he (Sheikh Farid) didn’t register my directorship with their (Bangladeshi) Companies Commission. They were also cheating...” he said.

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