Most of yesterday's newspaper frontpage was about the corruption charge on Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.
Such coverage given to Mirza was because it was his second charge after being acquited from the first charge of accepting a sponsored dental implant treatment worth RM13,860.
The person instructing the dentist to not accept his payment and bill him had owned up.
Otherwise, he would have been victimsed for being in the way of the then Minister of Tourism, Dato Azalina Said. Read a past posting here.
Mirza is a man with a clean reputation. Neither any Ministry's staff has any complain against him nor is there any grumbling against him for corruption or abuse of power.
He is known as a straight arrow to both staff and industry player.
For MACC to charge him for the second time, they must have got their investigation and proof in order. A second loss will not only embarass them but taint the name of MACC.
In court on Monday, Mirza is jointly charged with former Pempena Sdn Bhd chief operations officer Mohammad Rosly Md Selamat for criminal breach of trust involving RM888,000 on Feb 27, 2007. Both plead not guilty for the charges and the next mention date is September 6th. The details available in The Star report here.
According to the charge sheet, Mirza and Rosly was charged in their capacity as a member of the board of directors and COO of Pempena, respectively. They were accused of paying the RM888,000 to LCL Interior LCL Dubai for a project to build Restoran Malaysia Dubai but did not fulfil the necessary requirements.
In 2007, Mirza was a member of the board of Pempena, the troubled subsidiary of Tourism Ministry by virtue of being the Minsitry's director general. Mirza was also an authorised cheque signatory for Pempena.
Pempena is seen as a troubled subsidiary because the Auditor-General’s Report 2008 reported that Pempena did not generate any return on investment after some RM41.7 million was pumped in the company.
A source claimed the other side of the story is that despite Mirza's disagreement for Pempena to finance the Dubai restaurant, the Board of Director had approved.
Unwillingly he had signed the disbursement cheque. The money was squandered away by the recipient company but did not deliever the assigned work. It is believed that the company is connected to the then Tourism Minister, Dato Leo Micheal Toyad.
When Mirza was acquited from the first charge, he was reinstated to his old position. By then, neither the alleged victimer, Azalina nor her successor, Dato Micheal Toyad was there. The new Tourism Minister is MCA MP, Dato Ng Yen Yen.
Soon, he was back to his old ways to refuse instructions from the Minister, cancel Minister's plan deemed unworkable and waste, and reject any proposal or payment with any smell of corruption.
Mirza was getting on Yen Yen's nerve. At the same time, complains were piling on Yen Yen. She was suspiciously business-minded in her ministerial role.
Furthermore, she arbitrarily changed the 1Malaysia concept that had been promoted by Tourism Malaysia for decades to become more sino centric.
The same source informed that Tuesday was the closing date for TDC's worldwide advertising tender. As chairman of the tender board, Mirza had earlier disagree for the top company to be given the whole contract worth RM600 million.
Yen Yen has a son involved in the bid and their intention is for a total sapu. Mirza was getting in the Minister's way again.
Unfortunate for Mirza, it is difficult to complain against her. It is heard that she came out with the highest KPI among the Ministers.
Another reliable source claimed MACC was adamant that Mirza is not as clean as he seems. MACC officers are determined "to get him" for another charge after the first acquital.
MACC could have gone for others in their combat against corruption but still chose to charge Mirza again.
They better not lose the second time to the same person. Otherwise, it will not only be embarassing for MACC but taint their reputation.
Same source claim that Mirza is confident of winning this second charge.
* Edit: 2:00 PM
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