NEW CASE: Government to probe Eurocopter RM2.3billion deal

NST Online » Local News:

16/10/2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will probe allegations that there were irregularities in a recently-announced multi-billion ringgit deal to supply new helicopters to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would seek an explanation from the Defence Ministry on allegations that the RM2.3 billion deal with Eurocopter was fraught with discrepancies.

The Anti-Corruption Agency will also look into the matter.

At an open house reception, Abdullah, who is also defence minister, said he would be meeting with the ministry’s secretary-general on the matter. The allegations surfaced in a letter by the chairman of a company representing a Russian helicopter firm.

The letter questioned the deal with Eurocopter to supply 12 new aircraft to replace the RMAF’s Nuri helicopters.

The letter, written by Datuk Zahar Hashim of Mentari Services Sdn Bhd and posted on a website, claimed that Eurocopter’s tender was the highest bid submitted.

He claimed that the government could have purchased the same number of helicopters from other companies and saved almost RM1.5 billion. He questioned the ministry’s evaluation process, saying that it was rushed and was approved two days before Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was moved to the Finance Ministry.

Najib has denied there were improprieties and has said that he would give an explanation on the deal in the Dewan Rakyat soon.

ACA director-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said the deal would be looked into but declined to provide details.

Last month, Abdullah announced that Eurocopter had been chosen over three other manufacturers to supply 12 Cougar EC725 helicopters to the RMAF. The Eurocopter Cougar EC725 was one of the four makes short-listed by RMAF. The other three were Sikorsky S92, Agusta Westland EH-101 Merlin and the Russian-made Mil Mi-17 Hip.

The manufacturers competed in an open international tender held during the last Langkawi International Maritime and Air Show.

The government allocated US$600 million (RM1.93 billion) to buy a fleet of 12 helicopters which will be in service until 2050.

Our Chief I.O swings into action to investigate!

Initial findings: The person in charged of the deal in Eurocopter is by the name of Nonee Ashirin (a lady). Normally, she will be the one to liaise with Ministry of Defense and the middleman (an individual or a company). Prior to the open tender, Nonee already made statements that Eurocopter will SECURE the replacement of Nuri helicopters from MOD. Wow! She had known even before the tender. Of course, few names were mentioned and we confirmed the ………. process already started.

However, our main focus is to investigate the irregularities and discrepancies in the process before the decision to issue Letter of Intent (LOI). The official statement from MOD, “Eurocopter obtained the highest marks in open tender process”. Yes, but not the lowest and without proper evaluation process. Why pay more when there is cheaper option? It involves public fund and tax payers’ money. Saving RM 1.5 billion of public fund!!!

From Tax Payer’s perspective, the government (MOD) should STOP the whole tender process including canceling the LOI to Eurocopter and re-tender.

We agree with the complaint by the Chairman of Mentari Services Sdn. Bhd. Kapt (B) Dato’ Zahar Hashim about the irregularity of the Eurocopter decision, and this is not just confined to the Kelowna Flightcraft Limited, Canada which submitted the bid for the Russian helicopter but also the other “short-listed” bidders as well.

Part of the argument put forward in the letter dated 7/10/2008 to Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib:

Dato’ Zahar stated in the letter:

“Kenyataan-kenyataan yang dibuat oleh YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berbeza dengan keadaan sebenar menurut maklumat yang telah disampaikan kepada kami dan penender-penender yang lain oleh sumber-sumber di Kementerian Pertahanan. Kami percaya YAB Dato’ Sri telah menyampaikan laporan yang kurang tepat kepada YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.”

“Proses penilaian belum selesai tetapi dengan secara tiba-tiba ARAHAN diberi oleh pihak tertentu supaya Letter of Intent (LOI) dikeluarkan kepada Eurocopter. LOI tersebut ditandatangan oleh seorang pegawai paras menengah di Kementerian Pertahanan dan bertarikh 15th Septmber 2008 iaitu dua hari sebelum Dato’ Sri Najib berpindah dari Kementerian Pertahanan ke Kementerian Kewangan.”

“Kerja yang sudah selesai adalah penelitian dokumen-dokumen tender yang dikemukakan oleh penender-penender. Penilaian fizikal iaitu memeriksa permis dan kilang penender-penender dan melakukan penerbangan ujian (test flights) belum dilakukan oleh kerana kebenaran dari pihak atasan di Kementerian Pertahanan dan Kementerian Kewangan untuk berbuat demikian belum diperolehi. Sewajarnya, penilaian fizikal adalah lebih mustahak dari penilaian dokumen-dokumen (documentary evaluation) dan anggota-anggota yang terlibat berasa hairan apabila mengetahui bahawa LOI telah dikeluarkan sebelum penilaian fizikal dilakukan.”

“Proses pengeluaran LOI kepada Eurocopter agak luar biasa dan bertentangan dengan prosedur yang telah diamalkan selama ini. Biasanya LOI dikeluarkan setelah proses penilaian secara menyeluruh selesai dan sebuah jawatankuasa yang dianggotai oleh wakil-wakil dari Kementerian Kewangan dan Kementerian Pertahanan capai kata sepakat tentang produk yang terbaik bersesuaian dengan belanjawan yang telah diperuntukkan. Mereka turut berpendapat bahawa adalah menakjubkan bahawa LOI bagi kontrak yang bernilai melebihi Dua Bilion Ringgit ditandatangan oleh seorang pegawai Kerajaan bertaraf Setiausaha Bahagian dan bukan seorang yang bertaraf sekurang-kurangnya Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha.”

“Sekian, kami akhiri dengan satu persoalan kepada YAB Dato’ Sri yang membingungkan kami. Kalau proses penilaian tender hanya sekadar membuat perbandingan antara risalah dan dokumen tender yang dilengkapkan dan dikemukakan oleh penender-penender sahaja, apa perlunya semua penender diwajibkan supaya mendeposit draf bank bernilai Satu Juta Ringgit kepada Kerajaan?”

Terima kasih.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir Batin.

cc. YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Perdana Menteri Malaysia merangkap Menteri Pertahanan

Yang Berhormat Pengerusi, Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Negara

Ketua Pengarah, Biro Pencegah Rasual

Sesuai dengan Seksyen 8 (b) dan (c) Akta Pencegah Rasual 1997, adalah diharapkan bahawa Tuan Ketua Pengarah akan memberi perhatian dan mengambil tindakan yang sewajarnya berdasarkan kepada maklumat tertentu yang terkandung dalam surat ini.

Ketua Pengarah, Biro Pengaduan Awam

Kelowna Flighcraft Limited, Canada

Kapt (B) Ho Fooi, Managing Director, Mentari Services Sdn Bhd

Seton Kenderick, GTS – Consultants, England

Who was the officer that signed the letter of intent to Eurocopter? Yes, our Chief I.O. has done some homework to find the answer! Based on the names, positions and objectives of the various divisions in MOD, we have concluded that the likely person would either be the Procurement Division head, Encik Nadzri Bin Siron, or Development Division head, Tuan Haji Nordin Bin Haji Ahmad. However, analyzing the scope of work and jurisdictions based on objectives of the divisions respectively, we can safely conclude that the letter was signed by Encik Nadzri Bin Siron.

However, under normal circumstances, none of the division heads dare to issue or sign any letter unless the Controlling Officer or ‘Pegawai Pengawal’, KSU, DATO’ ABU BAKAR BIN HAJI ABDULLAH had given the OK to the officer to issue and sign the letter based on decision made by the tender committee. The question is whether the tender committee had presided on the subject matter? The fact of the case, KSU is still the man responsible and accountable for matters pertaining to the ministry.

For now, our Chief I.O. will NEED to investigate further and gather more information?

One of the senior officers below must know the TRUTH whether any irregularities or discrepancies in the tender process? Interesting!!!

Left to right: KSU, Dato’ Abu Bakar bin Hj Abdullah, TKSU Pengurusan, Dato’ Hj Ismail bin Ibrahim and TKSU Pembangunan, Dato’ Mohamad Khalid Bin Hj Shariff.

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One Response to “NEW CASE: Government to probe Eurocopter RM2.3billion deal”

  1. […] Who was the officer that signed the letter of intent to Eurocopter? Yes, our Chief I.O. has done some homework to find the answer! Based on the names, positions and objectives of the various divisions in MOD, we have concluded that the likely person….Read on […]

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