George Kent used as middle link in French submarine deal – says PKR’s Rafizi

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Kuala Lumpur – PKR today revealed documents which it argued show that Thales International, the company involved in the French-Malaysian submarine purchase deal, was set to win the bid for the LRT Ampang extension project.

At a press conference today, PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli alleged that documents indicate that Thales is using local company George Kent as a “go-between” to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, a task it purportedly carried out with analyst Abdul Razak Baginda’s company in the French submarine deal.

Referring to a technical evaluation report for the project by Halcrow, he said Thales was “set to win the bid”, with the firm being involved in three joint-ventures bidding for the project.

The three include the George Kent-Wijet-Thales consortium, which the technical evaluation report states is to be considered despite failing the technical evaluation.

“Every single rule was broken in order to give an advantage to Thales.

“Who else can make these instructions unless it was under the patronage of the prime minister?” he asked.

The project is under the purview of the Finance Ministry, headed by the prime minister.

Najib earlier dismissed claims of irregularities by saying that the tender process for the roughly RM1 billion project was done “properly”.

Joseph Breham ( right ), who is acting for NGO Suaram, in May revealed that French investigators found evidence to suggest that Thales had paid 32 million euros to purchase secret naval documents from Terasasi, a company owned by Abdul Razak.

Rafizi said the link to Najib is strengthening, considering that George Kent is controlled by Tan Kay Hock who has been reported by The Star as Najib’s “golf buddy”.

According to Halcrow’s report made available to the press today, the technical evalutation panel was “instructed by Prasarana” following an interim review on June 17 to include all bidders despite Halcrow’s suggestion to remove the four lowest scorers.

Rafizi said this included George Kent-Wijet-Thales which scored 55.17 percent, far behind the top scorer Balfour Beaty-Invensys which scored 80.10 percent.

George Kent awarded letter of intent

He said that it is even more alarming that the George Kent consortium has been issued a letter of intent (LOI) for the project.

He said he can prove that the LOI was issued as third party documents show that George Kent has started engaging subcontractors and financiers for the project.

“I know tender committee procedures. I sat on tender board committees for Petronas’ upstream petrochemical projects… worth RM10 billion to RM20 billion.

“When an LOI is issued it is 90 percent sure that (the recipient will be awarded the project),” he said.

Rafizi also alleged that the issuance of the LOI is not valid as the George Kent consortium bid’s validity period had expired.

While he does not have documents to back this claim, Rafizi said he has full trust in his informants as the documents they have been leaked to him have been genuine thus far.

The documents are proven genuine, he said, as the Finance Ministry has lodged a police report over their leaks and police are investigating the case under the Official Secrets Act.

He explained that a bidder places a validity period for his bid to account for rising costs over time, and giving the project to George Kent when the period had expired may lead to variation orders.

“So it may go over and beyond the RM1 billion (estimated),” he said. – Malaysiakini