30 January 2018
Mara Inc, an investment arm of Mara(Majlis Amanah Rakyat), purchased a property in Melbourne, a 280-room city apartment building, UniLodge, which mostly houses overseas students on Swanston Street, near Melbourne University. The property was purchased by an off-shore company registered in a tax heaven, from the owner, Australian businessman Lionel Harber, for AUD 23.5 million. The property was then sold within weeks to Mara, for $41.8 million. The difference of $18.3 million went into the pockets of Malaysian political representatives. Mr Mohammad Lan Allani was the head of Mara at that time. Sydney Morning Herald reported that a sum of $3.2 million was paid into the personal bank account of Mr Mohammad Lan Allani. He was formerly an assemblyman from the state of Sabah.
Star Online reported that Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa has confirmed that the property which was acquired at a cost of A$21 million was sold at a profit for RM76.75 million (A$23.4 million).
The investigations were carried out by the Australian anti-corruption officials and independently by Fairfax media over the past two years. They have notified of their findings to Malaysian authorities. So far, no one is facing any prosecution. It is not surprising that Malaysian authorities are not taking any action. It is surprising that the Australian authorities have not initiated any legal action as the corruption and money laundering took place in Australian soil. Australian financial institutions and businesses were involved in the purchase and sale of UniLodge.
It was reported that Mara Inc. owns three other properties valued at A$ 75 million. It is not known how much was swindled in the purchase of these three properties.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the AFP [Australian Federal Police] has significant intelligence implicating Malaysian Prime Minister Razak in corruption connected to an unrelated corruption probe that is subject to a Victorian court suppression order.