Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba is seeking an apology from the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center) and for it to pay him RM30 million in damages within the next seven days.
The demand from the non-governmental organisation is over its allegations linking him to the ministry’s contract for supply of Covid-19 equipment.
Dr Adham’s lawyer Nasser Yusof had gone to serve the notice at the C4 Center office today but found the premises closed and instead pasted it on the office door.
Nasser said he would proceed to file a suit against C4 Center if it fails to meet the demands in the notice.
He said it was over C4 Center’s action in publishing a press release, with the title “Health Minister Adham Baba Must Come Clean on MOF’s RM30 Million Procurement Scandal” on its website https://c4center.orgon May 11, which the minister claimed was defamatory and damaged his reputation.
“C4’s claims are slander. They implied that the minister is corrupt, and this has spoiled his good image.”
“My client is seeking RM30 million in damages, unconditional written apology, apology through social media, apology through media conference and it should also be posted on the C4 Center website.
“He is also seeking C4 Center to retract the allegations and to stop issuing any statements on the matter, either verbally, through media statements, video or website posting,” he said.
Nasser said if the demand was not complied within seven days, then they would not hesitate to file a suit in the High Court.
“We will let the court decide which party is right,” he said.
On Monday, the Health Ministry in a statement said the allegation that Dr Adham had links with the Khazanah Jaya Sdn Bhd (KJSB) company which obtained an emergency procurement contract for the implementation of ‘Lab Maligation Solution For Covid-19’ was false, malicious and amounted to character assassination.
The ministry stressed that Dr Adham never had any business interest in KJSB, or links to its shareholders, nor did he direct any ministry official to approve the award of the contracts to KJSB or any company.
Nasser explained that the statement linking Dr Adham with a proxy for obtaining the tender and implying an element of corruption had seriously affected his reputation.
“The claim made by Dr Adham today is to provide input to outsiders and members of the community out there that he is a person of integrity and will deal accordingly with the accusers.
“We will also consider making a police report but because the matter is more of a civil issue, we will submit notice of claim at the court. After all, it does not involve criminal element and we do not want to burden the police with such issues,” he said.
Yesterday, the anti-graft group, in a statement, said Dr Adham must explain whether he is involved in the procurement scandal, which is under Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation.
The MACC is probing into five companies directly appointed by the Health Ministry to supply testing equipment and protective gear.
This follows former MP Wee Choo Kiong’s claim that a company that received a contract was paid “lots of money upfront”, in addition to not being qualified for the job.
C4 Centre said a search on the Companies Commission of Malaysia website showed that there are links between shareholders of a company offered a contract and another firm with shares in Dr Adham’s private practice, Klinik Adham.
C4 Centre questioned whether Dr Adham asserted control or influence over affairs related to the ministry, in particular, the selection of contractors.
“Did Adham abuse his position by making decisions in ways that will provide personal benefit and favouritism for his business associates?”
“Transparency and accountability must not be lost in the haste to respond to a pandemic as deadly as Covid-19. Given this, C4 demands that Adham provides a full explanation, in the name of public interest, on the procurement contracts, as well as the appointment of contractors.
“As this unprecedented crisis puts healthcare systems, people’s safety and the economy under tremendous strain, it is imperative that transparency and accountability remain at the heart of the country’s policy responses,” C4 Centre added.
Earlier report: May 11, Come Clean on RM30M Scandal, C4 Centre Tells Adham