Friday, April 09, 2010

RM28 million contract awarded to a RM2 company called APCO Worldwide Sdn Bhd

This post is just about two simple facts.

First, as reported on The Malaysian Insider, the de facto law minister Nazri Aziz admitted that the government has awarded a contract totalling RM28 million to APCO Worldwide:
… Umno is a member of the Barisan Nasional who employs APCO and is paying APCO RM28 million…
Second, according to the official document from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia), APCO Worldwide Sdn Bhd, formerly known as Mind Teams Sdn Bhd and the local agent for APCO Worldwide based in Washington DC, is a RM2 company (total issued ordinary shares).

So we now have the bigger picture: Malaysian government awarded RM28 million worth of contract to a RM2 company. In case you are not aware, with RM2 as its issued ordinary shares, the maximum exposure or liability the company has in its business dealings, including the RM28 million contract with Malaysian government, is … RM2.

Worse, the two sole shareholders are fishy too. Hasniza Bt Wazer seems to be only 30 years of age, according to her IC number. Whereas, Rohani Bt Mat Yatim is 46 years old. Interestingly, none of them sits on the board of directors of the company. Six other ladies and gentlemen are the directors: Yiap Tiew Kuang, Tan Poh Oon, Larry Erle Snoddon, Paul Geoffrey Stadlen, Denise Marie Teeling, and Margery Klaus. The “sins” of some of these people and APCO Worldwide are already well covered by Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (here, herehere and here) and (here and here)

Both Hasniza and Rohani do not have any semblance of businesswomen/investors at all, because, according to some other official records, Hasniza stays in some “perumahan awam” (public housing) at Setapak Jaya whereas Rohani stays in a Sentul Park Apartment. At least their residential addresses do not match the type of business APCO Worldwide is in. So they are most likely two proxy shareholders.

(Incidentally, the pair of “Haniza Wazer + Rohani Mat Yatim” has appeared in quite a few dubious business transactions, many of them involving RM2 companies. [Google] [Yahoo] For instance, Cepat Wawasan Group Bhd acquired Magnum Kapital, another RM2 company, from the pair. They seem like ‘professional proxy shareholders’. According to a lawyer friend familiar with commercial matters, such practice of using proxy shareholders is not uncommon, but usually happens in cases of ’something to hide’ and may potentially step into gray area of business legality.)

Why do you want to have two proxy shareholders? Even the retarded will think that there is something to hide by the actual shareholders. For the Malaysian public, the question naturally comes to mind is, “Who actually owns APCO Worldwide Sdn Bhd and therefore are benefiting from the huge government contract?”

It is no doubt that APCO Worldwide (the global consulting group) is a serious business and therefore no one will dispute the enormous price-tag of RM28 million, not that we agree with the fact that the government should spend the huge amount of money on cosmetic packaging to make the BN government looks good. But the RM28 million certainly goes into the coffer of APCO Worldwide Sdn Bhd first, before eventually reaching the APCO HQ in Washington DC. The actual owner(s) of APCO Worldwide Sdn Bhd will certainly take a ‘cut’, and we do not know who takes that cut and how much it will be.

A RM2 company and a multi-million dollar contract? It suddenly rings a bell, doesn’t it? Was it not Zahrain Hashim, the MP who quit PKR to become ‘independent’, also allegedly eyeing such a contract from Penang state government for his own RM2 company? But it went sour (he didn’t get it after intervention by Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng), ‘forcing’ Zahrain to turn ‘katak’ (read: BN friendly).

But in the case of APCO Worldwide, it is much worse. Not only do we have potential compromise to Malaysia’s national security, we have absolute absence of transparency (at least we knew Zahrain was behind his own RM2 company). Prime minister Najib has been emphasising transparency in his proposed New Economic Model, and yet he himself does not practise what he preaches – by awarding a RM28 million contract to APCO Worldwide Sdn Bhd, a RM2 company with dubious proxy shareholders.

courtesy of

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