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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday 6 January 2011

Revisiting the Alcatel bribery scandal.

Some clarifications are in order. I wrote a number of articles about Telekom Malaysia and the Alcatel issue.
One writer demanded an apology from me for questioning the technical accreditation of Alcatel. He says it's one of the Fortune 500 companies and has a number of inventions to its credit.
That's not relevant for my article. When I said, it didn't secure the technical accreditation, I meant in the context of this deal with Telekom Malaysia and Celcom then and in the context of providing 3G services. No apologies needed there.
The fact was, it didn't get through the technical evaluation phase but some people in Telekom Malaysia and Khazanah and even MOF wanted Alcatel to be in. Further, as one anonymous commented and his comments seemed to match my own internal notes
The former financial and technical guy in XL happened to be my acquaintance who told me that they were cornered by two of the company's Commissioner, both Malaysian. Let's refer them as YA and FA. Two of them cornered those guys separately and force them to change their recommendation to Alcatel. Of course both of them refused, insisting on written instructions (which were not given). YA then send a Malaysian technical expert, let's call him M, to re-evaluate and find fault in XL's recommendation. But again he found nothing wrong and all evaluation process was in adherence to the objective and procedures.
For his opinion, M, was then shipped out to somewhere in Africa (either Malawi or Guinea). Meanwhile, the financial and technical guys were eventually forced out of the company as the consequences. Both of them are happy somewhere else, one in Bakri Group and the other is in Singapore Technologies.
Yet YA and FA are still around in XL doing their things.
Yes, what are the things they do?
I think the quickest and direct route to identify the identity of the 2 Malaysian constants is to remit the whole case to the police and MACC. I am surprised this route is not taken. Instead it has spawned a mini McCarthyite hunt for the identity of Malaysian Consultants A and B. some even linked the identity of one of them to KJ the Ketua Pemuda UMNO and impute his declaration not to contest the Rembau seat, as a means to escape prosecution.
A number of pro UMNO bloggers or UMNO friendly bloggers have written on this topic. One of them is Brick in the Wall. By the way, I shall write about this myth and hype being classified as pro UMNO or government friendly bloggers. Suffice for me to say, some of the raving sirens are not even UMNO members and have no inkling about the happening at the grassroots level.
In his article BIW writes:-
Sakmongkol had disclosed that the consultant paid for USD200,000, referred as Consultant A was Dato Dr Norraesah, Chairman of Alcatel Malaysia, French trained economist and appointed member of UMNO Supreme Counsel.
Sorry, this is not quite right. I didn't say it was Noraesah who got paid. I wrote on her role and position in this Alcatelgate. She was Alcatel Malaysia's boss at the material time.
Sakmongkol revealed one of the Celcom insiders was Celcom CEO, Dato Shazally Ramly, someone socially closed with Khairy during Pak Lah's time but now have distanced himself away.
Also, not quite right. Didn't say Shazaly was such other than suggesting that if we need to know, we camp outside KL Hilton and wait up on Shazaly and asked him some 'penetrating' questions.
The two consultants were actual and real live employees of either Telekom or Alcatel.
Just a few days ago, it was the reaction by Telekom Malaysia and Axiata( nee Celcom) that shocked me.I hope, it has the same effect on many other people.

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and Axiata Group Bhd have jointly appointed KPMG Corporate Services Sdn Bhd and Shearn Delamore & Co as forensic accountant and legal adviser respectively to assist in an internal probe over alleged payments received by TM employees from Alcatel-Lucent SA. In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, TM said its board had also approved the setting up of a sub-committee of the Board Audit Committee (BAC) to conduct an independent and comprehensive internal investigation into the alleged improper payments to TM employees. The BAC sub-committee would submit its report and findings to the BAC for further guidance and the next course of action, it said. The sub-committee is chaired by Tunku Datuk Mahmood Fawzy Tunku Muhiyiddin, a member of TM board. Fawzy is also a member of TM's board audit committee and chairman of TM board risk committee.
What is the meaning of this? Over there in America, Alcatel has been fined or legally punished for bribing. It clearly said bribed Malaysian guys to get the USD85 million contract. Here you are forming a subcommittee to report to a supervising committee. You are reporting on yourself. Will you incriminate yourself?
Here we are putting up an elaborate show inviting people to do some forensic investigation. That is certainly a cause for misgiving- since in most cases; such so called forensic exercise will exonerate the perpetrators of the wrong.
Set up a committee to see what must be done with the system put up by Alcatel and explain why it's failing. My question again and again, of the proposal put forth by Alcatel then was clearly technically wanting, why was it accepted despite that? Once accepted, why should we now turn around and disclaim our choice of Alcatel?
Clearly in the case, heads must roll. Why is it so difficult to identify Malaysian consultants A and B? Get Noraesah under the spotlight. Place a helmet over her head, and knock the helmet repeatedly for one hour. I am sure at the end, whatever we want to know about Alcatelgate will come out via a more cost effective way rather than having to employ a hotshot accounting firm and a big named legal firm.


Anonymous,  6 January 2011 at 16:37  


As usual and not unexpected, TM says it will set up a sub committee to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation .... blah, blah, blah. The country's GLCs are so full of committees and sub committees spending expensive time and money on worthless investigations which never see the light of the day. It seems that the head honchos of the GLCs' are always closing the barn doors after the horses have bolted. When will these GLC head honchos learn that prevention of such improper acts is only through good corporate governance and strong honest leadership at the helm. Unfortunately this would be asking too much of the GLCs since they too have been inflicted with UMNO cancerous corruption disease. In the private sector, heads would already have rolled instead of waiting to set up useless investigating committees.

Red Alfa 6 January 2011 at 17:38  

Salam Dato'

One could suspect that "Some people" will want nobody to be found guilty or that no crime or indiscretion whatsoever had been committed.

"Some people" would ensure that a thorough and independendent investigation will be carried out with the inquest having the outcome not unlike that of the TBH Inquest.... "there was no bribery involved and if there was a bribe given as claimed, it had not inluenced the decision in the award to the certain party as was alledged"...

Bapak bapak,  6 January 2011 at 17:43  

YA and FA are still around in XL? Are you sure? Which one?

Donplaypuks® 6 January 2011 at 20:04  

My exact sentiments!

Why appoint all sorts of fancy legal and accounting firms and Con-sultants who will cost a couple of million $ more when there are cheaper and more effective direct routes for investigating and getting to the bottom?

These over-priced Con-sultants will only give a report with the usual disclaimers meaning they will not be held accountable whether they are right or wrong (as in the PKFZ case) for shoddy work.

It's a simple matter for BNM to get hold of bank statements and accounts of suspected bribe receivers and check if they have huge credits during the relevant time. Or ask Income Tax to check if they have unaccounted for assets. Or if that doesn't work, call in all parties for a round of severe inteerogation at Special Branch or MACC HQ or is that reserved only for complaints about cows and cars and aides of Opposition MP's?

Why take the long and expensive route to China to get from one end of KL to the other, unless the real intention is to obfuscate and carry out a massive cover up?

One thing is certain about committees which usually produce camels when asked to invent horses; they will lay a great big white egg!

we are all of 1 Race, the Human race

Anonymous,  6 January 2011 at 21:43  


Oh my God ( Allah Subhanawataalla )
please help Malaysia... No wonder they drive mercdzs and bmws, live in three story banglows,and to the extend feed their families with that "marhin" sweat soaked monies which they robbed from young children used to buy "topup".. what a shame!!!

Anonymous,  6 January 2011 at 21:50  


Your previous article mentioned Kumpulan Pinang is/was?? the local Alcatel partner but didn’t mentioned the real backer for this company. I think you know more than you care to mention.

Alcatel has been flexing its influence using its local partner especially on new telco entrants since early 1990s....during the early days of deregulation in telecommunication industry in Malaysia. They have won huge contracts despite so-so technical capabilities and they are not the cheapest either.

I think this is where the right procurement strategy will determine a new company will succeed or not. One telco company which let politic influence its procurement decision suffered the consequences i.e. several times close to bankruptcy; and the other which the owner separate business and politics become the premier operator in Malaysia.

umar,  6 January 2011 at 22:19  

probe Telekom from day one..when was there no scandal ?
How was TM shares diverted from MAIKA to invisible hands from the IPO days?
who won the contracts to lay fibre optic cables and how ?
Who got the contracts to put up concrete poles replacing old iron poles/posts ?
Milking every GLC was the corporate finance of Malaysia advised by merchant banks for a fee... forever good business for corporate finance guys be local or foreign.

Anonymous,  6 January 2011 at 22:39  

The never ending stories of corruption.

More to come.

Who wants to earn a few tens of thousands when one can get billions and able to go on leave for a holiday when things get bad?

The trouble is, guys here just do not know how to fight corruption.

Just plain incompetents.

Anonymous,  6 January 2011 at 22:45  


Actually, they don't want to get to the bottom of things, they don't want to flush out the culprits. That's why they appoint hotshot accounting and law firms.

You hav stay in Malaysia long enough to know that people with connection in high places get away with corruption and even murder.

What's there to complaint about. People like you continue to support these bunch of people in Barisan Nasional.

Change can no longer happen from within Barisan Nasional. Wake up!

Anonymous,  6 January 2011 at 23:00  


I wonder why dont Norraesah and KJ clear up their name themselves in this Alcatel case rather than asking somebody else to do it for them.

Fishy isn't it.

Anonymous,  7 January 2011 at 08:59  


It's good that you are keeping everybody informed with intimate details of the dirty deal. This will preempt any cover up in MACC investigation. Nobody is surprised by all the hanky-panky stuff going on in TM. It's the same with every project that the government is involved in. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The whole affair will be white-washed in the end because Umnoputras are in the thick of it.

Anonymous,  7 January 2011 at 14:25  


Can you explain further on Kumpulan Pinang. They said you have all the info. No cover up, please

Ariff Sabri 7 January 2011 at 15:20  

anon 14:25
you have over credited me. who is 'they'? i dont have the full story on kumpulan Pinang.

Anonymous,  7 January 2011 at 19:52  

The major local partner of Alcatel is Yayasan Bumi Pinang - YBP, an UMNO youth investment arm.

Anonymous,  7 January 2011 at 20:38  

Bapak bapak you are right. My apology.

It came to my knowledge that YA is no longer with the company. He left to lynch himself with one investment banking firm. He is smart, escape before the bubble blows!

As for FA, I think he is still somewhere in jakarta.

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