“When Rameli began associating with Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak’s team and assisted several of the former premier’s people during election campaigns, Mahathir wasn’t pleased. It is for this reason, that following Barisan Nasional’s defeat during the 14thgeneral election (GE14), Mahathir got Daim to lure Rameli back to his fold with promises that the renegotiations of the various rail projects he put on hold would see active participation by Ingress at some level”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) has gotten the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) involved in a discovery exercise into claims that Dato’ Dr Rameli Musa was party to a money-laundering scheme. On Tuesday, the 4thof March 2019, I told PDRM that the RM1.4 million the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) chairman paid Americk Singh Sidhu via a Client’s account ended with Clare Rewcastle Brown by means of conspiracy. The conspiracy involved the laundering of the said fund by Americk, who, together with Rameli, Bank Negara Malaysia and Maybank Jalan Tun Razak, cheated the United Kingdom (UK) central bank by providing it false information.
Let’s take things from the top.
Rameli Musa was a onetime Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim crony who assisted the PKR chief back when the latter was sacked from government. In 1998, at the height of reformasi, Rameli was instrumental in helping all those jailed by Tun (then Dato’ Seri) Mahathir Mohamad by providing them with money and legal representation. Anwar’s wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, took a liking for Rameli and depended a lot on him to keep reformasi going. When the movement took over Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia (IKATAN) and renamed it Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN), it had the names of Rameli and his business associates written all over it.
Rameli’s money was everywhere. By then, he had begun warming up to Tun (then Dato’ Seri) Daim Zainuddin who wanted to trigger animosity between him and Wan Azizah. Daim knew that Rameli was the sort of guy who didn’t put his eggs in one basket and was a wiling party to any beneficial association. In 1991, when Rameli co-founded Ingress Engineering Sdn Bhd with a BNW concessionaire, he was already closely associated with the late Dato’ Dr Mohamad Jaffar Mohamad Ali, brother of Tun Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, Mahathir’s wife. Jaffar was then the Chairman of TD Cars (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and helped Rameli secure many deals with Cycle & Carriage (CC) and Proton.
So you see, Rameli had his tentacles lodged in both Anwar’s and Mahathir’s camps even before reformasi. The company that owns Ingress, Ramdawi Sdn Bhd, was an Anwar proxy which he co-founded with Dato’ Abdul Wahab Ismail, Ingress’ group advisor. Through Jaffar, Rameli secured a couple of supply deals with Proton and was said to have been involved with the supply of knowhow to TD Cars. Following a series of corporate restructuring and privatisation deals, he assumed the roles of Executive Vice Chairman and Non-Executive Director at Ingress Corporation Berhad, a company he held substantial stakes in. Things went downhill from there between him and Wan Azizah.
At first, he made nothing of it and continued his associations with PKR leaders. Because his business ventures had started on a footing that made no distinction between Mahathir and Anwar, he figured that the Malaysian political landscape was such, that everyone who dealt with him made no bones about who he associated with as long as money kept coming. To PKR, he was the guy who bankrolled election campaigns for Anwar’s men and assisted some of Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali’s men. To Mahathir, he was the guy who dealt with Jaffar and helped supply Proton cost effective parts. Then, on the 14thof September 2001, Jaffar departed the earthly plane and left Rameli with billions in automotive supply deals.
By then, Mahathir, who had mooted and approved several railway electrification and double-tracking projects, had gotten Daim to enter backdoor deals with Bealfour Beatty Rail Sdn Bhd (BBR), a rail electrification systems expert Rameli had stakes in. Daim promised Rameli several signalling and communication systems contracts worth billions for various stages of the double-tracking project. Wan Azizah wasn’t particularly fond of the arrangement and began seeking alternate sources of funding for PKR. In her mind, Rameli’s associations with Daim meant Mahathir would know which PKR leader spent how much, when and where. And that’s true – Mahathir did know which PKR leader spent how much, when and where.
As a matter of fact, he knew of Rameli’s more than close dealings with certain insiders in Maybank and how the main shareholder of Ingress was Maybank Nominees. That is to say, Mahathir knew that Rameli had pledged Ingress’ shares to Maybank and that the bank had significant say in how the company was run. He knew how Rameli obtained borrowings worth RM110 million from Maybank Investment Bank Berhad for the privatisation of Ingress at RM1.85 a piece. Rameli was comfortable leaving paper trails all over his backyard as he believed that the guys at Maybank would cover him. But Mahathir had his own people in Bank Negara who exercised some form of control over Maybank and fed him with quite a lot of details relating to Rameli.
It is that control that ultimately led to the sabotage of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) by the Maybank Kim Eng Group (MKEG). Not many are aware, that in August 2014, Dato’ Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, current governor and then deputy governor of Bank Negara, got her subordinate to instruct two officials from Maybank to sabotage 1MDB’s Initial Public Offering (IPO). It is this directive that resulted in the jamming of 1MDB’s loans by the regional head of debt capital markets at MKEG, Michael Oh-Lau Chong Jin, and the CEO of MKEG, John Chong. So you see, just as much as Mahathir exercised some form of control over Maybank’s dealings with 1MDB, he had control over the bank’s dealings with Rameli, knew who the billionaire dealt with in PKR and UMNO and how much money people like Tian Chua and Nurul Izzah Anwar spent for GE14.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Initially, it didn’t bother Mahathir much that Rameli was helping PKR leaders as Tun (then Dato’ Seri) Abdullah Badawi wasn’t proving to be a worthy successor. To Mahathir, the emergence of PKR as a force for UMNO to reckon with was most opportune as the mission was then to weaken Abdullah’s stronghold in Penang and Barisan Nasional’s majority at federal. But when Rameli began associating with Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak’s team during the later years and assisted several of the former premier’s people during election campaigns, Mahathir wasn’t at all pleased. It is for this reason, that following Barisan Nasional’s defeat during the 14thgeneral election (GE14), he got Daim to lure Rameli back to his fold with promises that the renegotiations of the various rail projects he put on hold would see active participation by Ingress at some level.
That’s not all.
Mahathir also needed Rameli on his side to prevent the latter from rekindling his long-lost friendship with Anwar. And if you know Mahathir the way I do, you will know that he always gets you to do his dirty work in order that your dirty file will always be with him. Late in January 2019, he got Rameli to channel RM1.4 million to Americk (via a client’s account) which Clare later told Maybank Jalan Tun Razak was for her. The fact that the transaction was approved by Bank Negara means Rameli and Americk had indicated to the central bank what the money was for. But the fact that Clare stated in her letter to Maybank that the money was from PAS president Dato’ Seri Haji Abdul Hadi Awang indicates that Rameli and Americk lied to Bank Negara regarding the source of the fund.
Not only was Hadi never party to the transaction, the out of court settlement he entered with Clare in London involved no costs, a fact easily made manifest when one refers to the official settlement agreement filed at the High Court of Justice in London. Unless Clare can produce legitimate documents proving that a separate agreement existed between her and Hadi, we can safely conclude that the RM1.4 million she insists she received was funnelled into her account by means of conspiracy. Put two and two together, and you will see how the conspiracy involved Americk, Ramli, Bank Negara and Maybank Jalan Tun Razak. Basiclly, Rameli was complicit with the parties aforementioned to launder the fund by misleading the UK central bank.
That, in essence, is why PDRM wants the MACC involved. On Tuesday, when questioned by the an Investigating Officer in Subang Jaya, I was told that the case would be transferred to the MACC, which was rather ironical, given that the police had yet to even open an investigation paper, let alone file my report under the appropriate section. The fact that the MACC burnt rubber getting Rameli into its interrogation room reeks of interference from the top. When Rameli told us that he ‘handed’ over his chequebook to the MACC, he impressed upon us that he was more than willing to cooperate with authorities. But he lied. Truth is, the very man who is trying to keep him away from Anwar, Mahathir, now wants to use my police report to dig everything there is to dig about him.
Yes, Mahthir wants to know the name of each and every Member of Parliament (MP) who received monetary assistance from Rameli. While everyone knows that the spending cap for a candidate vying for a parliamentary seat is RM200,000, not everyone knows, that spending that little may not even get you three days into your campaign. The MACC knows this and so does Mahathir. By confiscating Rameli’s chequebook and using Nor Shamsiah’s influence in Maybank, the Prime Minister wants the black and white on funds MPs aligned with Najib and Anwar spent to run GE14 campaigns. He is planning to use evidence of overspending – which, in Malaysian election laws, constitutes a violation – to blackmail the MPs before entering into deals with them to ensure that Anwar’s vote of no-confidence, if any, will fall flat on its face.
But there is something Mahathir overlooked…
To be continued…