KUALA LUMPUR: PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli has named Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad as another key player in the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal.
In a Facebook post this morning, Rafizi claimed Dr Abdul Latiff's second wife had a hand in the controversy.
According to the former Pandan MP, two offshore companies, Alizes Marine Limited which was registered in Malta and Alizes Marine Labuan registered in Labuan, were involved in the embezzlement of the LCS warship funds.
"Both companies have the status of offshore companies and cannot be tracked. The existence of Alizes Marine Limited was only known when the offshore company's database was leaked by whistle-blowers leading to a major world scandal (known as the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers)."
He said a check with the Paradise Papers database confirmed the existence of a company Alizes Marine Limited owned by a woman.
He claimed the woman was also a shareholder of another offshore company established in Malta called Intralogistics Limited, adding that the company holds shares in Alizes Marine Labuan.
According to Rafizi, several forms of abuse occurred in the multi-billion LCS project through the two companies.
The first, he claimed, was when the companies were appointed as the technical consultants to the project (although they had no expertise) on the matter.
The former Pandan member of parliament claimed the companies had issued invoices to the government although they had failed to perform their work.
He added that RM23.37 million was embezzled at the beginning of the project between 2011 and 2014.
Secondly, Rafizi said Alizes Marine was appointed as a spare parts supplier for the LCS project.
He claimed the appointment was based on false information that the companies had a license from the French government to be a global exporter of defence spare parts.
He said the LCS project paid around RM210 million for replacement equipment which was supposedly supplied by a French company but the payments were diverted to fake companies established in Malta and Labuan.
When this scandal happened, Rafizi said Abdul Latiff who is also the Mersing MP, was an Umno leader before joining Bersatu after the 2018 general election.
He said the internal investigation report of the LCS project also clearly mentioned that the woman in question was Dr Latiff Ahmad's wife, citing Page 96, paragraph 126.96.36.199 of the report.
Between 2008 and 2013, Dr Abdul Latiff was the deputy defence minister. The defence minister at the time was Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Rafizi alleged that there was an effort to divert public funds from the LCS project, adding that the plans were properly crafted over many years.
He also claimed that there were various other forms of defence contracts made involving Dr Abdul Latiff, Alizes Marine and a few other companies controlled by the minister and his wife, adding that LCS was not the only one.
Rafizi said he would share the findings on the other projects involving Dr Abdul Latiff and his family soon.
"This is why from the very beginning I demanded an explanation from Zahid as the (then) defence minister who was responsible for changing the ship design from Sigma to Gowind, and (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak was the Finance Minister and Prime Minister at the time.
"It is impossible that this embezzlement scheme involving projects managed by both of them (Najib and Zahid) could happen without their knowledge.
"I hope my revelation today shuts the mouths of Umno and Barisan Nasional who tried to blame the navy retirees when this scandal exploded.
"A scandal of this magnitude cannot happen without masterminds from among the Umno leadership who made big decisions at that time, while the retired navy personnel only conspired to carry out the malpractices.
"I also hope that the leadership of Perikatan Nasional from Bersatu and Pas will start to realise that this LCS scandal will also drag them down because their senior leader, Dr Abdul Latiff and his family are directly involved in fake companies that embezzled LCS project funds.
"I await the reactions of the leaders from Umno, Pas and Bersatu leadership who form today's federal government."