MACC called on to probe Lodin over LCS scandal

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Lodin also implicated in 1MDB and Scorpene submarine scandals.

The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) has called on the MACC to probe former Armed Forces Pensions Fund (LTAT) chief executive Lodin Wok Kamaruddin over his role in the controversial littoral combat ships (LCS) scandal.

At a press conference today, C4 founding director Cynthia Gabriel said the NGO will send a memorandum to the commission soon to mount pressure on the graft buster to nab those behind the alleged embezzlement.

“Lodin has escaped investigation but he is everywhere,” she said, adding that Lodin held positions in seven government entities and government-linked companies (GLCs), of which some were involved in the LCS procurement process.

“As the then chief executive officer of LTAT and director of Perimekar, Lodin oversaw the transfer of (alleged) illegal funds into Perimekar’s account. A total of 20 percent of Perimekar’s shares at that time were owned by Boustead Holding Berhad (BHB), of which Lodin was group managing director since 1991.

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“He was also the Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd (BHIC) executive chairperson until he relinquished all the stated positions in 2018,” she said.

Apart from that, Lodin was also the then chairperson of Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), the Defence Ministry’s contractor for the construction of six frigates under the LCS programme. BHIC controls a 27.77 percent stake in BNS.

“Lodin also formerly occupied the board of directors and the chairperson role of Affin Bank – the same bank used by Perimekar. More importantly, BNS had promised all of its rights and future income to Affin Bank as collateral for obtaining a huge loan, with the properties affected valued at almost RM6 billion.

“Affin Bank itself is part of the same group as many of the above-mentioned companies; LTAT owns 33.08 percent of Affin’s shares, while Boustead Holdings owns 20.85 percent of them,” Gabriel said.

She pointed out that Lodin was also implicated in two other scandals, namely 1MDB and the Scorpene submarine deal.

“We have no problem sending a memorandum to MACC, but we are concerned about the lack of action and silence from them,” she said.

Meanwhile, C4 research director Bryan Cheah said MACC must explain why it has not opened investigations into key figures involved in the LCS scandal, including Lodin, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and former defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Former BNS managing director Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor has been the only person charged in relation to the LCS scandal.

“This is incredibly disappointing as the evidence shows that he could not have acted alone and was not even the key figure in orchestrating the massive scandal, a task only available to those who occupied the highest offices in government,” he said.

Cheah also demanded that MACC release the investigation findings into the LCS scandal gathered so far.

“They have dragged their feet on this matter for far too long, repeatedly delaying the release of these findings,” he added.

On Aug 16, Ramli was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM21.08 million over the LCS project.

Last month, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its report revealed a huge overrun in cost amounting to RM1.4 billion in the RM9 billion LCS contract, with RM6 billion paid as of 2020.

Despite the government having paid such a huge amount, none of the ships has been completed after eight years. The project was started in 2014.

Lodin’s role was highlighted in the forensic audit by BHIC where he was involved in the LCS project at its initial stages, but he also served as BHIC chairperson and was involved in 1MDB.

The first mention of Lodin in the BHIC audit report was regarding Contraves Advanced Devices Sdn Bhd (CAD).

BHIC had bought a 51 percent stake in CAD for RM25 million. The idea was for BHIC to have a platform to collaborate with German defence contractor Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD).

However, the audit report found that the BHIC board, led by Lodin, agreed to a recommendation that the management control of CAD remains with RAD as the latter had “internal expertise” to run the company.

Lodin was known to be Najib’s associate. – Malaysiakini