Hornbill Unleashed

August 10, 2010

UNMASKED! TAIB THE GODFATHER

By Sarawak Report

Sarawak Report has uncovered devastating documents which prove that Abdul Taib Mahmud, Sarawak’s Chief Minister, is the real owner of millions of dollars of property assets held in the name of family members abroad.

The damning discovery lays bare a system of private deals, which enabled the Chief Minister to conceal his true ownership of the properties. This was presumably in order to hide the extent of his enormous wealth, for which he has yet to provide any legitimate explanation.

Under the system, whilst it is Taib’s relatives who are publicly registered as the official shareholders and directors of the companies owning the properties,  a separate, private agreement ensures that the shares are actually held in trust for him.

Download PDF.

Documentary evidence of elaborate concealment

Among documents in its possession Sarawak Report has a copy of one such private agreement (see above) relating to the shares in Sakti International, a company that owns buildings in San Francisco.  Sakti is part of a web of companies started in North America by the Taibs, which includes Sakto, a major Ottawa property company, and Wallysons, which owns the Abraham Lincoln Building in Seattle, housing a top secret anti-terrorist facility for the FBI.

The five official shareholders of Sakti International, which is registered in California, are Taib’s brothers, Onn Mahmud and Arip Mahmud, along with three of his children, Sulaiman Taib, Mahmud Taib and Jamilah Taib.   However, as the document which we have obtained shows, a resolution made soon after the formation of the company has privately ruled that half those shares (a commanding majority) are held in trust for the Chief Minister.  The value of these shares amounts to 40 million US dollars for Sakti alone, according to the company’s own documents.

Tip of the iceberg?

However, Sakti International, estimated to be worth US $80 million, accounts for just a small proportion of the Taib family wealth. Our previous exposes have revealed a vast portfolio of further international property assets, which are owned by members of Taib Mahmud’s immediate family.  For example, Taib’s own children are the shareholders and directors of numerous companies controlling residential and commercial buildings in Canada, Australia, Britain and the United States together worth hundreds of millions of US dollars.  Yet, suspiciously, many of these assets came into their possession when they were in their early 20s and still college students with no visible access to legitimate resources to invest. The inevitable question for Taib Mahmud, therefore, is whether, as in the case of Sakti International, they are also secretly holding these other properties in trust for him?  If not, what explanation can there be for these investments?

A number of reports have already been made to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) regarding the recent disclosures of the Taib family wealth. These new revelations proving the direct link to the Chief Minister will increase the pressure on the MACC to respond with a proper investigation.

Further Fingerprints

The Sakti International documents in our possession, released as part of the disclosure in a recent court case, provide further extensive evidence of Taib Mahmud’s involvement in the company, despite his denials of any business connections.  Indeed one of the company’s earliest official documents, signed in 1987, even lists him as one of the Directors of Sakti International.

The document in question is a Domestic Stock Corporation Statement for Sakti International, which is required annually by the State of California.  In 1987, the year the company was set up, its inaugural statement clearly registers Taib Mahmud, along with his brothers Onn Mahmud and Arip Mahmud, as a Director of the company.  The only officer of the company is listed as Mahmud Taib, the Chief Minister’s eldest son.

It is well-known that in subsequent Taib family enterprises the Chief Minister has always scrupulously avoided including his own name in any documentation.  This early mistake will undermine his constant claims that, in keeping with his role as Chief Minister, he has no direct business interests. It is clear that he in fact set up Sakti International, using the address of his own house in San Francisco. Download PDF

Cover Up

Subsequently, records show that the structure of the company was altered to make Onn, Arip and Mahmud Taib the three Directors, while Rahman became the only officer of the company.  But, as we are now able to exclusively report, Taib Mahmud secretly retained his control through a resolution by the company directors dated April 8th 1988. This resolution (see top) placed 500 of the 1,000 shares issued by the company in trust for him.

The Godfather

The Sakti documents give a fascinating insight into the manipulative methods used by Taib Mahmud to control his family members, who are supposedly the earners and ‘businessmen’ who have generated the Taibs’ legendary wealth.  The five relatives who were selected to own shares in Sakti International were each been given a different number of shares. Each then surrendered differing proportions of these shares to be held in trust for the Chief Minister.

Brother Onn Mahmud gets 400 shares, but of them 200 are held for the Chief Minister, whereas brother Arip gets just 200 shares, 100 of which are in trust for Taib. Mahmud Taib has the same arrangement ast Arip. However younger brother, Sulaiman Rahman Taib, who was later made sole Director of Sakti, only gets 100 shares under the agreement and they are all in fact held in trust for his father. Daughter Jamilah also only gets 100 shares, but she gets to hold them all herself.

The system ensures that Taib Mahmud has half of all the shares held in trust for himself, whereas  none of the others hold more than 200 shares. In this way he clearly keeps a commanding control over the company he pretends not to own.

Classic Car on Standby – Vintage Ferrari kept ready for Chief Minister’s occasional visits to 43 Presidio Avenue. Son Rahman Taib, who shared his father’s interest requested a 4,000 square foot garage to house his car collection in the States

Taib in charge

Former employees of Sakti have testified to the controling position the Chief Minister holds over the other members of the family.  Rahman, as he was known in the States, was still in college when he became sole Director of Sakti and has been described as being in awe of his father, whom he once had to wait a week to get a meeting with.

“We always considered Taib to be the ultimate boss and decision-maker” one former executive has told Sarawak Report, “It was obvious that he was the source of the money and Rahman was extremely deferential towards him”.

Where did the money come from?

The Chief Minister has so far made no comment on the string of recent exposes regarding his wealth.  However, this new evidence will increase the widespread demands for him to explain how he and his family accrued the millions necessary to acquire such investments.  Taib’s personal salary from his numerous concurrent positions still only delivers an official income of just under 50,000 MYR (around US $16,000) a month.

In past weeks the existence of Ridgeford Properties in London and Sakto Corporation in Ontario, Canada have also been made public (see previous exposes on Sarawak Report).  These companies own and manage numerous office blocks worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  Ostensibly the Directors and owners of these concerns are Jamilah Taib and her husband Sean (Hisham) Murray, a Canadian national. However, like Sakti,  Sakto was originally set up under the names of Taib family members, not Mr Murray.

Although numerous members of Sean Murray’s family now work for Sakto, all the evidence indicates that these are in fact Taib family businesses, ultimately controlled by the Chief Minister of Sarawak.

Surely the weight of evidence is now such that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission will be unable to ignore the deluge of demands requiring thorough investigation into Sarawak’s White Haired Raja? - Sarawak Report

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10 Comments »

  1. Agree with Abang. The MACC itself is corrupted, so the report submitted to it will end up worthless. Teo Beng Hock died after interogation by MACC in the wee hours of the morning.

    Please read the book “The March to Putrajaya” written by Kim Quek. It tells of all the dirtiest laundries of Pek Moh, Najib, and UMNO.

    Comment by Bugs — August 12, 2010 @ 10:38 PM | Reply

  2. Under Sarawak Constitution chapter 3-the executive ,the article stated that the chief minister shall not hold any office of profit and shall not actively engage in any commercial enterprise

    Comment by Akai — August 10, 2010 @ 4:40 PM | Reply

  3. The SUARAM or NGO or Opposition should organize a legal team oversea in UK to claim back these Sarawak wealth from Taib M. Don’t wait for MACC which is on the same boat with BN.

    Comment by Semua — August 10, 2010 @ 4:08 PM | Reply

    • ORAGNISE DEMO THROUGH OUT SARAWAK DEMANDING EXPLAINATION FROM THE CM AND CRONIES….MAKE AVAILABLE THE SARAWAK REPORTS TO ALL SARAWAKIAN IN HARD COPIES AND DISTRIBUTES THEM TO THE RURAL VOTERS NOW!

      SINCES THE MACC IS NOT TAKING ANY ACTION THEN WE ALL SARAWAKIAN TAKE ACTION INTO OUR OWN HANDS…

      YES…GET THE BEST LEGAL TEAM AVAILABLE…AT LEAST FREEZES ALL CM AND CRONIES ASSETS/CASH WORLDWIDE….

      Comment by anak Ulu Baram... — August 11, 2010 @ 2:11 PM | Reply

  4. MACC…….ARE YOU WAITING SOMETHINGS REALLY BAD HAPPENS TO THE WHITE TERMMITES FAMILIES AND CRONIES/BN? PEOPLE TAKING ACTION INTO THEIR OWN HANDS……GUESS IF IT COMES TO THAT EXTEND THEN WILL PUT BLAME ON MACC….

    Comment by anak Ulu Baram... — August 10, 2010 @ 2:38 PM | Reply

  5. Kudos to Sarawak Report !

    Despite the recent discovery of CM Taib Mahmud’s hidden treasure, the silence on the part of MACC and the State government is truly deafening.

    I pray that justice will be done for all Sarawakians.

    Comment by PH Chin — August 10, 2010 @ 11:51 AM | Reply

  6. When are we going to do away with the OSA (Official Secrets Act) and the ISA (Internal Security Act)?

    Comment by Watcha — August 10, 2010 @ 10:26 AM | Reply

  7. Despite the weight of evidence against Taib & Co (not just him alone)the MACC most likely will only bring charges if the KL political overlords decide its time to get rid of him. But they are all in cahoots with each other. Taib & gang got the timber & KL got the oil (we were sold out & are all the poorer!) It can never happen unless the whole corrupt system is swept away by some major popular political change as has happened in some countries in recent times.

    Why not try legal action overseas. Firstly Taib is holding the investments “in trust” for the people of Sarwak.

    Class law suits should be brought on behalf of the people against Taib & all his companies to claim all these investments wherever they are. This will firstly focus the spotlight on the illegal misappropriation of Sarawak wealth he has tried to hide overseas. Win or lose the ensuing legal battles will educate the whole world on his & cronies misdeeds over the past 30 years.

    In conjunction with such legal actions, class action should also taken to bring criminal charges against Taib & gang (the whole lot) for crimes against humanity (self-enrichment by stealing of national wealth, dispossesion and destruction of the homelands of the ulu & jungle folks, murders & rapes, mass damage to the environment from timber logging & dam building)etc…

    There has been some success overseas against tyrants such as Marcos, Pinochet (who was detained by the Brit police)Maybe try the UN for a start ???

    Comment by Abang — August 10, 2010 @ 9:13 AM | Reply

    • Try the UN? Opinions? Legal eagles around?

      Doubt it. UN and International avenues largely concern crimes against humanity. Marcos of Philippines wasn’t dragged to any court in his life time. He just lari … and with the loot! Some GBP £5b are still irrecoverable in respect of the Marcos, and his wife and children are living it off on those. Governments are toothless there! But its no excuse from trying, you could, with some remote luck, lay out different rules! ?

      If you look at how Americans got away with the Grand Theft that paralysed the world we are left with one word – greed! Of course they say the system was wrong and inadequate and regulatory controls were needed, la di da … They did however put a face to it – that of Madoff! Who will be Malaysia’s Madoff?

      Theft is for the Court to aggrandize itself no matter what form and type. In the case of Taib it’s no longer a case for the Court because, in a way like greed that screwed up the worlds money system, it’s institutionalised. Our Parliament, Judiciary and Executive appear absolutely helpless not for want of action but the lack of will. They can say what they want of how good our Judiciary is but they’re not seen to be just. The lack of will extends to the Executive and Parliament. Theft in Malaysia IS INSTITUTIONALIZED. It also begins even in the Schools and Umiversities ! Not all but it’s there!

      So what are we saying when we talk about overcoming this “theft” problem? Obviously, we just have to kick out the present government, make it plainer how important systems are for our future. If the wheels of justice are cogged and geared right, which will build in self-stops it may mean thinking within and without the systems.

      If the recent attempts of shaming the Johore Sultan is any pointer, Taib, PBB, UMNO and BN are past blaming and shaming. Jeering and taunting they beg disorder…for the ULTIMATE self-gratification.

      Now let’s see what we’ll do. Will we succumb and give them the lollipop?

      Comment by Watcha — August 13, 2010 @ 11:40 AM | Reply

      • If we cant get back the loots….. as said can we take action?

        ONE QUICK AND CHEAP WAY OUT….. IN CHINA THE GUILTY PARTY HAS TO PAY FOR “IT” BUT SURE ALOT OF SARAWAKIAN WOULD DONATE…..

        Comment by anak Sarawak... — August 13, 2010 @ 1:00 PM | Reply


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