MKini: Swiss gov't refutes PM's claims on Perwaja
By Yap Mun Ching
29/3/2002 1:14 am Fri
Yap Mun Ching - 7:32pm, Thu Mar 28th, 2002
The Swiss government has countered Prime Minister Dr
Mahathir Mohamad's criticism of its uncooperative stance
with regards to the Perwaja scandal by revealing that its
Justice Department had provided Malaysian authorities with
information on two bank accounts.
The spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Justice Department,
Folco Galli, was reported as saying in a German-language
newspaper on March 1 that documents relating to a bank
account in Geneva and another in Zurich had been given to
Malaysian investigators last May.
However, Galli said Malaysian authorities have not
requested for the accounts to be blocked.
Galli was responding to Mahathir's speech in London on Feb
26 when he reproached the Swiss for refusing to reveal
identities of account holders.
Galli was responding to Mahathir's speech in London on Feb 26 when he reproached the Swiss for refusing to reveal identities of account holders.
Mahathir, during a meeting with students, had said the
government faced difficulty in finding missing funds
relating to Perwaja as the money had been placed in Swiss
bank accounts and the banks were unwilling to testify in
Malaysian courts about their clients.
He was also reported in the New Straits Times as saying
that Swiss authorities, while admitting to holding some
money, refused to reveal the identities of the
Swiss envoy `astonished' by report
Meanwhile, the Swiss embassy today told malaysiakini that
it was "astonished" by the NST report.
According to Consul Ulrich Schlaesli, the Justice
Department had said it responded in a "fast and
uncomplicated" manner to Malaysian enquiries.
Yesterday, the Malay Mail reported that Anti-Corruption
Agency director-general Zulkipli Mat Nor, a senior federal
council - the late Nur'Aini Zulkiflee - and a senior ACA
officer met Swiss Justice Ministry officials in Zurich in
Schlaesli said Swiss authorities have also received
"thanks from several Malaysian officials for their speedy
Former Perwaja chairperson Eric Chia has been blamed for
the mismanagement of the company which resulted in losses
amounting to some RM10 billion.
Chia is also accused of approving the transmission of
RM76.4 million to a Hong Kong-based company, which was
later found to be non-existent while the missing funds
were said to have been channeled to Swiss accounts.
Chia was personally appointed by Mahathir in 1988 to helm
the national steel company and turn it into a profit