|By SM AMIN ([email protected])|
|Thursday, 01 November 2012 15:59|
KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today denied claims by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) that his friendship with timber businessman Michael Chia has profited the former's family.
Nazri said PKR's allegations that his ties with Chia, linked to a RM40 million cash transfer scandal, had resulted in the former's son having use of a Hummer vehicle worth around RM459,000, were baseless.
"Oh no, that's untrue, it's untrue. Chia is a friend. I don't know if he lent the car to my son. You'll have to ask my son on that," he told Malaysian Digest when met in Parliament today.
Nazri also stressed that he wields no influence on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or the judiciary.
Earlier today, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli had claimed that Nazri's son, Nedim, had benefited directly from Chia.
"Nazri's son, Nedim and his family members had profited from Chia in the form of a black Hummer vehicle, bearing the registration WNX 9776.
"This luxury vehicle is estimated to be worth more than RM459,000 and is registered under Michael Chia. The ownership can be verified via a summonses check on MyEG's website," he told reporters.
Rafizi said that via a joint-effort with website Sarawak Report, PKR's conducted its own investigation to confirm that the vehicle was indeed used by Nazri's son.
"Our checks showed that the Hummer was driven by the driver for Nedim's family. The vehicle's daily routine revolves between Clearwater Residence (Nedim's home) and Bangsar Shopping Complex," he claimed.
Rafizi claimed that Nazri, who had "vigorously defended" Chia in the latter's investigation by MACC, reflected a conflict of interest as the MACC was also under Nazri's ministerial purview.
"This is enough to raise doubt that there are improper elements between Nazri and Chia, based on Nazri’s previous statements where he defended Chia. It has now been shown that Chia is sponsoring a luxury vehicle used by the minister's son," he said.
Chia was previously named as the businessman who was nabbed attempting to allegedly bring in RM40 million from Hong Kong to Malaysia. The Opposition had claimed that the money was meant for Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Following an investigation, the Attorney-General's office later concluded that there were no elements of corruption involved, and that the money was meant as a political contribution towards Sabah Umno, and not for the chief minister personally.
Transparency International Malaysia later demanded that the authorities reveal the source of the 'political funding'.