Minister ready for probe

Bring it on: Abdul Latiff challenges Rafizi’s allegations but the latter says the proof is in the money trail.

JOHOR BARU: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad has denied that the woman named by Rafizi Ramli as being involved in the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal – a Zainab Mohd Salleh – is his wife.

“As a Cabinet minister, I am ready to give my full cooperation to the authorities in any further investigation,” he said in a two-paragraph statement yesterday.

The Mersing MP served as deputy defence minister from 2008 to 2013 under Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was then defence minister.

Abdul Latiff defected from Umno to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia after the 14th General Election in 2018.

Earlier yesterday, Rafizi alleged that companies linked to Zainab, whom he said was the second wife of Abdul Latiff, were involved in the LCS scandal.

The PKR deputy president said an internal investigation report had revealed the woman’s name, and that she was linked to an offshore company with units incorporated in tax havens such as Malta and Labuan.

He said the companies were also named in documents contained in the Paradise Papers offshore leaks database.

“The woman was also a shareholder in another offshore company incorporated in Malta which has shares in the Labuan-based unit.”

Rafizi claimed that the company was a “dummy corporation” that had a name similar to a real French company that produces spare parts.

Citing the investigation papers, he said this ‘dummy’ company was appointed the spare parts supplier for the LCS project.

“The appointment was based on fake information that it had the licence from the French government to export defence spare parts (when in actuality it did not have such licences),” he added.

He also claimed that RM210mil was paid to the purported French company, but it was swindled to the dummy corporations set up in the tax haven jurisdictions.

He said the companies were also appointed as technical consultants when they did not have the expertise.

“They sent invoices for work that was not completed.

“A total of RM23.37mil was siphoned through this method during the early days of the project, which is from 2011 to 2014,” he claimed.

“My checks revealed that the misappropriation of public funds from the LCS project has been going on for years and was well planned,” he said.

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