This big black beast of a car is an American Hummer 2 SUV, one of the most expensive vehicles in the world, costing around half a million ringgit on the Malaysian market.
For well over a year one of these models, registration number WNX9776, has been driven around KL by Mohamad Nedim Nazri, the son of a key Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.
It is especially used by Mohamed Nedim’s team of body-guards, who follow the youthful playboy around in the various sports cars that he also likes to drive.
Yet the car is registered not under the name of Nedim nor his father Nazri Abdul Aziz, but rather of its original purchaser Michael Chia, the Sabah-based money-runner, whom the top politician has just declared ‘cleared’ of all charges relating to his arrest for transporting RM40million from Hong Kong to Sabah in 2008!
Proof who’s owner
Sarawak Report has numerous pictures of the Hummer 2 WNX9776 parked outside Mohammed Nedim’s luxury residence at the Clearwater building in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. The youth, who has been in a number of violent scrapes in recent months and keeps a permanent bodyguard, occupies a Penthouse Suite in the building where he has also kept the car for months.
Yet this traffic offence (below), identified by Sarawak Report, is proof of the Hummer’s actual registered owner. Not only has Chia been so kind as to offer Nazri’s son a magnificent car, but he has been receiving his speeding tickets as well!
The Hummer is one of the many cars identified among Michael Chia’s assets by the MACC investigation into the Sabah money-laundering case. And yet now we see it prominently in the possession of Nazri’s own son, despite Nazri’s position as the Minister responsible for the MACC.
Since Nazri Aziz is the Minister who is ultimately responsible for the supposedly ‘independent’ MACC, it is easy to conclude why a man like Michael Chia might have been anxious to curry favour with such a Minister and his family after the investigation into his money-laundering began in 2008.
However, we ask, what acceptable explanation can there be as to why the Minister (or his son) should accept such a gift from a marked man, who was being investigated by his own government department or encourage any form of friendship with someone under such a serious and high profile corruption investigation?
Failure to declare a personal interest
Our extraordinary revelation follows an admission two days ago by Nazri that he was indeed a ‘friend’ of Chia, after rumours first surfaced that his son had been given cars by the money-laundering suspect.
The development is likely to have an explosive impact on an already charged political situation, following Nazri’s own announcements on the sudden decision to drop a long running investigation into Michael Chia’s involvement in laundering timber kickbacks, which have been clearly linked to Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman.
Observers are surely going to ask why Nazri did not declare his interest at the time he made his first controversial announcement on October 10th declaring after four years of looking into the case that Chia was after all innocent of any wrong-doing, because the RM40million he was smuggling was intended for UMNO and not Musa Aman personally!
The Minister has attempted to brush off the matter by admitting that Chia is a friend, but not that he knew the man was giving his son cars. So how DOES Nazri account for his feckless son’s multi-million dollar car collection? By what means did he imagine rowdy Mohd Nedim, best known for beating people up who annoy him, had acquired these cars?
Ever changing stories and ever weakening answers
This is an affair that has left BN/UMNO politicians exposed to the accusation that they cannot keep to the same story for more than a few days at a time.
The public has been treated to a series of unconvincing and inconsistent responses every time new evidence presents itself in the Sabah case and doubtless stories will change again now Nazri’s own close friendship and involvement with the main player, Michael Chia, has been exposed.
Originally, after Chia’s arrest and an investigation by Hong Kong’s ICAC and the MACC in 2008, BN tried outright denial.
Attorney General Gani Patail (a relative of Musa) refused inter-country cooperation to the ICAC, thereby causing the Hong Kong investigation to lapse when the 3 year time limit ran out in 2011. And he also refused to prosecute the MACC’s 40 recommended charges.
At the same time Chia denied he had been arrested, or that there had been RM40million involved or that he had any business or political dealings with Musa. Musa likewise denied any association with Chia.
However, this year our series of exposes based on a large body of evidence available to the MACC, have showed that an international web of Chia-controlled accounts were channelling tens of millions of ringgit into Musa Aman’s own personal Zurich bank account, run by the Swiss bank UBS.
We also demonstrated that the same Chia-controlled accounts were being used to provide regular payments to Musa Aman’s sons, while they were studying in Australia. This was corroborated by the Swiss bank UBS in a separate court case currently in the High Court of Singapore.
These revelations were followed by an announcement by the Swiss Federal Attorney General that it has launched a criminal money-laundering investigation into UBS over its part in the affair.
It appears these developments put so much pressure on BN that the stories started to change. In June, the Prime Minister Najib Razak acknowledged that the MACC had indeed handed a report on the matter to the Attorney General and that Musa was implicated. For weeks Musa was stranded.
However, suddenly in the middle of last month Nazri Aziz led a fight back with a string of extraordinary announcements. On the one hand BN admitted that Chia had been caught transferring RM40million to Musa, but on the other they declared that Chia and his accomplices had nevertheless been ‘cleared’.
In a parliamentary answer on 10th October Nazri said that both parties had been exonerated on the basis that the money was not for ‘personal use’, but for UMNO use instead!
Onlookers were left amazed that a political donation based on timber kickbacks should be considered any less corrupt than a personal one. They were also left wondering where this left all the four years of different denials by Musa and Chia. And if there was nothing wrong with this ‘political donation’, why had it been denied for so long?
But Nazri and his colleagues did not stop here. Soon they developed the story further, claiming that the ICAC investigation had also ‘cleared Musa and Chia’, when in fact the Hong Kong investigation just lapsed owing to non-cooperation from the Malaysian Attorney General.
Since the ICAC has refused to comment, Nazri and his colleagues have not been able to get any evidence to confirm their claim that Chia was found blameless in Hong Kong.
Finally, having admitted the RM40million was being secreted to Sabah, that Chia was ‘detained’ and that the money was frozen and investigated, Nazri’s latest twist has been to claim that Chia was never arrested after all!
So why the 4 years of investigations?
Yet more explanations are now needed
It would appear that a half million ringgit Hummer 2 can buy an awful lot of support in high places. The roadster has been considered the ultimate ‘macho machine’ ever since Hollywood idols like Arnold Schwarzeneggar started driving the former military vehicles back in the 1990s.
Clearly, young Mohd Nedim was desperately tempted and also aware of the value of this status symbol.
However, accepting such a gift opens his father to unstoppable questions about what other incentives might have been employed to encourage so many energetic public defences of Chia by Nazri over the past few days? After all there have also been reports of millions of ringgit changing hands and Nazri has certainly been working exceedingly hard on Chia’s behalf!
Mr Nazri certainly has some explaining to do and we should prepare ourselves for many more stories and denials.