KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Anti-corruption group C4 Center today alleged that Dr Adham Baba’s private clinic was connected to a supplier of Covid-19 tests for the government, but the health minister has denied any conflict of interest.
The Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) highlighted media reports that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has summoned at least five contractors in its investigation on contracts worth at least RM30 million to supply the Ministry of Health (MOH) Covid-19 tests, personal protective equipment (PPE), and face masks.
“Although MACC has declined to specifically identify the companies that are under its scrutiny in the investigations, it is rumoured to include a property development company Khazanah Jaya Sdn Bhd (KJSB), which had allegedly acquired a laboratory construction project for the ministry,” C4 said in a statement.
The anti-graft non-governmental organisation (NGO) said its search on the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) website revealed that KJSB shareholders and directors were two individuals with the surname Tan.
These two are also shareholders and directors of another company dubbed SAN. One of the former directors of SAN is an individual whom C4 noted happens to be a shareholder and director in Health Minister Dr Adham’s private clinic, Klinik Adham.
Klinik Adham is mostly owned by Dr Adham (96.8 per cent), while the former SAN director, who has been a director of Klinik Adham since April 2004, owns approximately 1,000 shares.
“Did Adham Baba assert control or influence over the affairs related to the Ministry he is in charge of, in particular, the selection of contractors?
“Did Adham Baba abuse his position by making decisions in ways that will provide personal benefit and favouritism for his business associates?” C4 questioned.
The NGO urged Dr Adham, who is also Tenggara MP from Umno, to explain MOH’s procurement contracts and the appointment of contractors, saying: “it is imperative that transparency and accountability remain at the heart of the country’s policy responses” to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Malaysiakini reported last May 5 that the MACC was focusing investigations on contractors appointed under the government’s emergency procurement procedures, with anti-graft officials reportedly saying credentials and expertise are still a must for contractors chosen under emergency circumstances.
Update at 7pm:
Dr Adham told CodeBlue that he would file a police report over C4’s allegations.
“Klinik Adham workers can work wherever they want to as long as there’s no conflict of interest,” he said, adding that he was made to understand that the individual named by C4 has not been attached for the past three years to SAN. That company, he said, was also no longer in business.
“MOH gets experts from China’s BGI to set up the best labs in the world,” Dr Adham said, referring to genome sequencing company BGI Group that will provide automated testing at the Institute of Medical Research here and Makmal Kesihatan Awam in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
“We at MOH did not instruct BGI to link up with any particular company in Malaysia. And procurement decisions are made by the secretary-general without my influence,” he added, referring to MOH secretary-general Chen Chaw Min.
Dr Adham said he would issue a statement in full later.
CodeBlue has changed the headline of the story to reflect Dr Adham’s clarification. CodeBlue has also removed the names of the companies and individuals named by C4, as well as C4’s graphic showing the purported links between the companies and Khazanah Jaya, pending their public comments on the allegations.