Updated at 16 July 2019 @ 8:30 pm: YB Gobind Singh Deo, the Minister of Communications & Multimedia said that his ministry will lodge a MACC report over the abuse of MCMC Funds as stated in the Auditor General Report 2018, HERE.
Updated at 16 July 2019 @ 11 am: Auditor-General Report 2018, which was tabled in Parliament today, at para 8-64 (e) states that “the department had done a random check in the schools in Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya and the tablets were according to specs as per contract”. This was correct as for Phase 1 of the project. Wilayah and Sarawak is under Phase 1. Brand of tablets for Phase 1 was Huawei. Huawei tablets were according to specs as per contract. As for Phase 2 – 5 Lenovo tablets were supplied instead of Huawei. According to two reports dated 8th March 2018 and 11 June 2018 by Ministry of Education the Lenovo tablets, which were supplied, were not in accordance with the specs. It is strange that the Auditor General Report chose not to mention about Phase 2-5. Furthermore, in the said AG report the name of PADU and Utusan Melayu were left out. It refers to PADU by Company No: 039148-H) and Utusan by No: 7170V with no names. It is most unusual for AG Report not to mention names of the company or organisation in its report. Why the omission? Something to hide? It looks like a “half past six” report on the scandalous tablet project!
It must be noted that Tan Sri Madinah Binti Mohamad was the Secretary-General of MOE in 2016. She chaired the first “Pre-Price Negotiation” meeting on 13 June 2016 where the tablet project was discussed and the famous corporate genuis, Dato’ Dr Siew Ka Wei, attended as a representative of Utusan, HERE. Tan Sri Madinah had attended many meetings and wrote several letters to facilitate this tablet project. Subsequently, she was appointed as the infamous Auditor General from 20 February 2017 to 22 February 2019. The 2018 Auditor General Report was prepared during her time. Therefore, it is understandable why the said report was written in such a way! Another shameless character.
Yours truly has just included the minutes of Pemandu meeting of 17 April 2018 below which stated that Phase 6 to be stopped until after 14th GE. Please read para 4.4 of the said minutes. However, Puan Khadijah Abdullah (CEO of PADU) and En Ahmad Izzat Zaki (CFO of PADU) proceeded to make payment of RM18, 402,690.25 for Phase 6 of the scandalous tablet project. Up to this date, not a single tablet has been delivered because of the lopsided contract. These two culprits must be held personally liable.
Yours truly will discuss this issues in greater details in the other part later.
The sham over the failed mega project to provide free 430,000 computer tablets to teachers nationwide has uncovered more filth.
Media group Redberry Sdn Bhd, a non-player in the bombed RM340 million project, was paid a hefty RM10,402,690.25 under Phase six of the scheme.
Up to this date, PADU had received a total of RM310 million from the cash cow, MCMC, supposedly for this tablet project!
The “Speedy Gonzales” Transactions
Documents obtained by yours truly from a reliable source show that on 26 April 2018 (just before 14th General Elections (GE) ) PADU Corporation (PADU) issued a “Surat Terima Setuju Terima” (SST) in lightning speed to Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd (Utusan).
On 27 April 2018 PADU immediately issued a cheque amounting to RM18,402,690.25 to the “Utusan-EPIWEB Collection Account”, which does not appear to be a legal entity by itself. At the time of the issuance of the said cheque, Utusan had yet to accept the SST. This was evident of zero governance on the part of PADU. It was treating MCMC as a cash cow!
On 30 April 2018 RM10,402,690.25 was paid out from the bank account of “Utusan-Epiweb Collection Account” to Redberry Sdn Bhd (Redberry), which is controlled by the disgraced ex-chairman of Tourism Malaysia (TM), Dato’ Dr Siew Ka Wei. The RM10,402,690.25 represented 56.52% of the total of RM18,402,690.25 from PADU. This was for Phase Six only!
Whether Redberry was paid any money under the previous Phases 1 – 5 of the tablet project that is under the purview of the Ministry of Education (MOE) must now be revealed.
The contractual parties for the project are PADU, a company incorporated by guarantee under the purview of MOE, and Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd.
The said contract, without open tender, was for the free supply of 430,000 computer tablets with pre-installed Tutor Guru app and Utusan Malaysia e-paper to teachers by June 2018.
The funds were granted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to PADU. Up to this date, MCMC, the cash cow, had paid RM310 million to PADU from its MCMC Funds.
PADU had paid about RM270 million to the special purpose vehicle “Utusan-Epiweb Collection Account”. PADU is still keeping the untilised MCMC Funds of RM43 million! Sources in MOE has it that the cash cow MCMC has demanded for the return of the unutilised fund of RM43 million but PADU is ignoring the said demand. There was positive action taken by MCMC to recover the RM43 million.
The Mysterious Redberry Sdn Bhd
Under the agreement between PADU and Utusan, Redberry had absolutely no role.
Similarly, Redberry had zero role under the agreement between Utusan and Epiweb Sdn Bhd, the supplier of the said tablets.
What is clear is that there was zero governance for the said tablet project by PADU.
It is baffling that Redberry, which was never a party of both contracts for the said tablet project, benefited greatly from the project, unless of course, the company through Dato Dr Siew Ka Wei, the well known corporate genius, had played his role more than attending the pre-price negotiation meeting on 13 June 2016. Dato’ Dr Siew Ka Wei, is the current executive chairman of public listed Ancom Bhd and Group MD of Nylex Bhd. In January 2019 he was arrested and detained together with the Redberry Media Group’s media specialist, Ms Elizabeth Ken by MACC, HERE. The defunct Malay Mail is part of Redberry Media Group.
What we know so far, as disclosed by yours truly, is that Dato Dr Siew Ka Wei was listed as a Utusan representative – when he was never with the company — without designation in a pre-price negotiation meeting with PADU on 13 June 2016. Please read HERE.
Since this blog exposed the debacle more than a week ago, no one has explained in what capacity Dato’ Dr Siew Ka Wei attended the pre-price negotiation meeting and possibly subsequent discussions and whether MOE and PADU were made aware of his role.
It was also disclosed that Redberry media specialist Ms Elizabeth Ken signed the Supply, Delivery and Maintenance Agreement between Utusan Melayu and politically-connected Epiweb Sdn Bhd as a witness for the latter on 3 December 2015, HERE.
It would appear from this that as early as in December 2015, Ms Elizabeth Ken had prior knowledge of the impending tablet project, which was only proposed by the then Minister of Communications and Multimedia on 22 April 2016.
The red flag, it appears, never came up and questions abound.
- Why was Redberry paid?
- How much in total was Redberry paid?
- Were PADU and MOE aware that Redberry was getting paid?
Legally speaking, all payments should be paid to Utusan, the actual contractual party between PADU and Utusan, but the disbursements should have raised another red flag.
Below is what happened:
The cheques were made out to the account “Utusan-Epiweb Collection Account” which is not a legal entity, unless Utusan had assigned all sums payable to this special purpose vehicle and account.
Minutes of PEMANDU Meeting Of 17 April 2018
On 17 April 2018, the “Jawatankuasa Pemandu” of MOE (the special Steering Committee of MOE) decided that the tablet project be stopped until after 14th General Election. It would appear that PADU was given full power from somewhere to defy all decisions made in Steering Committee (Jawatankuasa Pemandu”).
Both Puan Khadijah (CEO of PADU) and En Ahmad Izzat (CFO of PADU) were present in the Pemandu meeting and knew of the decision taken to stop Phase 6 until after 14th GE and yet both went ahead to signed the cheque on 27 April 2018 for RM18, 402,690.25! These two officers must be made personally liable for the said payment by surcharging under the General Order of the government.
Another example was that the then all powerful CEO of PADU, Puan Khadijah binti Abdullah, dared to exceed her authority with the issuance of SST amounting to RM52,579,115.00 . It is the standard rule or practice that SST above RM5 million must be approved by the Board of Trustees of PADU. The officers of PADU do not care about proper governance and/or the law. The officers are the law!
The Powerful Personality
A powerful personality outside PADU and/or MOE was instrumental in getting PADU to proceed with the issuance of “Surat Setuju Terima” (SST) for Phase Six despite the decision made by the “Jawantankuasa Pemandu” of MOE on 17 April 2019 to stop Phase Six until after 14 GE. He was so confident that Barisan Nasional would win the 14th GE hands down that he secured a letter from the then Prime Minister’s press secretary to support Phase Six.
On 26 April 2018, the said SST was issued by PADU followed by a cheque for RM18,402,690.25 on 27 April 2018. On 27 April, which was on a Friday, the RM18,402,690.25 cheque was issued but at the material time the SST was not officially accepted by Utusan. This was the type of governance PADU/MOE style!
On 30 April 2018, Monday, (3 days after the issuance of the above cheque by PADU) Redberry then got paid RM10,402,690.25 from the “Utusan-Epiweb Collection Account”. Wasn’t it strange that Redberry a non-party to either the PADU – Utusan or Utusan – Epiweb Sdn Bhd agreements was paid RM10,402,690.25?
Silence is no longer an option for PADU/MOE and Ministry of Communication & Multimedia and/or MCMC.
Stay Tuned – Part 5