MACC chief says checking if donations to Aman Palestin made it to intended recipients as ‘a lot of things’ in doubt

SEPANG, Jan 8 — Malaysian graft busters are investigating if the millions of ringgit donated to non-government organisation Aman Palestin for victims of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza actually made its way to its intended recipients.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Tan Sri Azam Baki today disclosed that investigators are having a tough time following the money trail as there were many things that were in doubt.

“Our query now is on whether these donations were indeed channelled to Palestine and also other countries such as Syria and how were the donations sent?

“They claimed that they had sent the donations. The issue is who are the recipients? That’s what the investigators have to verify,” he told reporters after the National Good Governance Symposium here this morning.

“They have given us some [names] but who are these people? As investigators, there are a lot of things that we are sceptical of,” he added, referring to information provided by Aman Palestin representatives.

Azam also said the MACC is also investigating the companies established by the charity organisation with no apparent connection to Palestine to see if they had received any of the donations meant for the war victims in Gaza.

“For example, the gold bars that were purchased for investment. This is an issue that we have to really investigate.

“If there’s any misappropriation, we will recommend charges to the prosecutor,” he added.

Bangi-based Aman Palestin, founded in 2004 to collect donations for those affected by armed conflicts in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, is under public scrutiny after questions were raised over four Grade 999.9 gold bullion, each weighing 1kg each, was seized during an inspection of its offices last November.

Questions were raised about the transparency of the RM70 million in funds donated that were supposed to be channelled to the strife-torn Gaza.

Aman Palestin’s lawyer Mohd Rafique Rashid Ali later admitted that the donations had been used to buy the gold bullion as it was easier to convert them back into cash before sending to those in need.

He denied any misappropriation and claimed the fund’s constitution allowed its board of directors to do so.

The lawyer also said that only 11 of the 41 accounts frozen by the MACC belonged to Aman Palestin and were used for donation purposes, while the rest belonged to the charity’s strategic partners, board of directors and staff members.

 

 

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