Sarawak Report has gained exclusive information about an extraordinary ex-parte hearing which took place in the Kuching High Court on Tuesday to request an injunction to freeze 50 million shares in the major Taib family conglomerate CMSB (Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad) pending further litigation.
The individual who had brought the matter to court was none other than Rahman Sulaiman Taib, the former Kota Samarahan MP and second son of the present Governor of the state of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud.
His lawyer, Alvin Chong, has frequently represented Taib family members and was made notorious by his detailing of their corrupt practices caught on camera in the undercover expose Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State.
The defendant is Sulaiman’s own stepmother, Ragad Taib, as well as RHB Securities which apparently handled a transfer of these shares from his mother Laila Taib’s estate (administered by his elderly father) into Ragad’s possession.
According to the details of the case it has emerged there is another as yet unspecified plaintiff, which is suspected to be another of Taib’s four children.
Critically, it appears that this attempt to freeze the shares was enacted without informing Ragad (hence the ‘ex-parte’ hearing meaning the other side was not notified) in an apparent bid to prevent her from cashing in on the extremely valuable acquisition – CMSB shares are currently worth just over one ringgit each.
Mysterious Estate that includes CMS shares
The untoward management of the deceased Laila Taib’s estate has long produced raised eyebrows in Sarawak, where Taib has ruled with an iron grip sucking up wealth through family enterprises since inheriting the position of chief minister from his uncle in 1981.
Much of that wealth has funnelled through CMSB which has acquired vast contracts and concessions thanks to its ownership predominantly by the chief minister’s own family, namely his wife and children. This family grip continues despite a dilution of ownership through a stock market launch.
When Laila Taib died in 20O9 the second largest tranche of 110 million shares in the company passed into her estate which was in turn directly administered by Taib himself.
The beneficiaries of that estate were cited as Taib and the couple’s four children, Jamilah, Abu Bekir, Sulaiman and Hannifah. However, some fifteen years later the distribution has yet to be made of those assets with Taib keeping a firm grip, at least until recently, on the estate.
Aside from the frozen inheritance all four children enjoyed further shares of their own.
The two daughters are the joint owners of the largest shareholder Majaharta Sdn Bhd (although the eldest Jamilah who has spent her adult life in Canada has seen fit to sue the Swiss NGO, Bruno Manser Fund, for suggesting she has profited from her father’s plunder of the state).
Oldest son, Abu Bekir, disposed of his own major shareholding in 2019, as documented by Sarawak Report at the time, most of those shares being apparently purchased by his younger brother Rahman Sulaiman.
Amidst signs of family conflict in the management of the company, Abu Bekir was later forced to stand down as a director amidst damning evidence of conflicts of interest. This decision was later stunningly reversed, allowing Abu Bekir to return to his post.
Hanifah’s businessman husband, Alsree Alwee, however remains ousted as Group Managing Director having fallen out with his brother in law over the issue. It means CMSB is now back under the control of the Taib brothers and, according to the latest shareholdings registered in the most recent annual report (above), Abu Bekir appears to have bought back the bulk of the shares he sold.
Shock Share Transfer
Meanwhile, the talk of Sarawak in recent months has been the apparent failing health and mental acuity of the family patriarch, the now Governor of the state. Taib was eased out of office and booted into the ceremonial role in 2014 following election reversals in the wake of the numerous kleptocracy scandals published by Sarawak Report.
Recently the elderly cancer survivor has frequently appeared confused in public, where he is increasingly seen to be guided and dependent on his buxom and fashion loving much younger Syrian wife, whom he married relatively swiftly in 2010, following the death of Laila.
There has been equal speculation about the likely poor relations between Ragad, who brought the two sons from her separate previous marriages over to Sarawak (where they have been favoured with economically useful ‘Bumiputera’ status) and her step-children who are all considerably older than she is.
A show of unity was put on last month as Ragad hosted an 87th birthday event in KL for her husband, attended by Jamilah and Abu Bekir. However, Rahman Sulaiman and Hannah are believed to have been absent and rumours have swirled about alleged suspicions of the children about Ragad’s controlling influence over her ailing husband .
What has now emerged through the court proceedings is that on 2nd June 50 million of the shares held in trust by the Leila Taib estate for her four children (i.e. nearly 50% of that inheritance) was transferred into the direct ownership of Ragad through RHB Securities.
Taib as the administrator of the estate is assumed to have signed off the transfer. However, this is argued to be in a direct contravention of Laila Taib’s will which had left the shares to be divided amongst her children.
In court, Alvin Chong was unable to specify the percentages for the division of those shares. However, plainly Ragad was not stated as a beneficiary in her predecessor’s will.
Was Laila, therefore, merely the titular owner of shares that were actually considered his own by the current head of state in Sarawak?
It is a question that the present legal spat ought to provide an answer for, with considerable implications in terms of how Taib’s claims about his family’s wealth are viewed and the legal status of Leila Taib’s estate.
The strongman has always attempted to argue that his close family were all self-made, as opposed to benefiting from or acting as proxies for corruptly acquired billions stolen from the state.
The attempt by Rahman Sulaiman to injunct the shares without Ragad being made aware of his move appears to have failed. The court held back from a decision in the absence of her being informed or pleading a defence.
On the other hand, the judge did agree to a rapid hearing of the case ‘inter-parte’ (i.e. with both sides begin allowed to make their case) as soon as Monday 19th June.
That has given Ragad a window of some three days to attempt to offload, sell or mortgage the shares. That might be ill-advised and it will soon be clear if she has done so.
Sarawak Report has exclusively learned of these developments. We suspect however the Malaysian press will be widely represented when the case returns to court on Monday.
Key questions on everyone’s lips will be whether others are now controlling the visibly fragile and apparently often confused Governor of the state; whether he was entitled to contravene the terms of his wife’s will (having delayed passing on the shares for years) and who really owned the assets in the Laila Taib estate to begin with?
Source : Sarawak Report
Whose Money Is It Anyway? – CMSB
It is a good guess that the Kuching court on Monday will be a lot busier than it was a week before when Taib family lawyer (and expert on how to cheat ‘blind’ native people), Alvin Chong, first raised the family row over the sudden disposition of CMSB shares to the Governor’s second wife, Ragad.
As Sarawak Report exclusively reported Taib Mahmud’s younger son Rahman Sulaiman has called for an injunction to freeze 50 million shares from his mother’s estate that the Governor had suddenly signed over to Ragad (after considerable years of nagging according to certain quarters).
In pointing out that the actual beneficiaries of the deceased Laila Taib’s will were her husband and children, making the transfer illegal, Alvin Chong intriguingly mentioned that dealers’ screens had originally registered that the entire 111 million shares from Laila’s estate (worth over one ringgit each) had been gifted to Ragad via RHB Securities.
Later that was adjusted to suggest that only 50 million were signed over by Taib, who has sole authority to do so as the administrator of the estate.
The sudden and clearly secretive move is made all the stranger by the fact that Taib has chosen to sit on those shares for nearly 15 years following Laila’s death. Moreover, Chong was unable to detail how the will had called for the shares to be divided among the beneficiaries.
To all intents and purposes, therefore, the estate has been treated as Taib’s own asset raising considerable speculation as to what was behind the decision to favour the second wife in such a way in apparent defiance of the formal terms of his first wife’s will?
Playing into the matter is the widespread concern that Taib is no longer in sufficient control of his faculties to perform his official duties let alone manage his private affairs. In public he seemingly clings on to his wife, more a nursemaid than his equal partner.
Has Power of Attorney already been passed over is the widespread speculation or are papers simply being slipped under his nose for him to sign, in between the various official documents that the Governor must add his name to?
If neither are the case and Taib has made an executive decision to defy the official terms of his ex-wife’s will, then surely he must step up and defend his decision which has been contested by his angry children?
Meanwhile, there are several questions for official bodies and law enforcement raised by the situation which demand decisions on their part. The first one being that if the Governor is no longer in control of his private affairs why has he not stepped down as head of state?
This matter is one of grave concern for the people of Sarawak.
Second, we are talking about an awful lot of loot. The last time the MACC opened investigations into the blatant acquisition of wealth by Taib and all his family the file was rapidly closed as political forces moved into sway.
The same outsized political influence of the robber barons of Sarawak, whose million and a half voters control 31 seats in Parliament (15% of the seats controlled by roughly 7% of voters) has continued to this day, protecting them from investigation despite the blatant theft in terms of the contracts, concessions and bribes received by Taib family companies, party and various cronies.
The question is, doest this wealth, which includes the CMSB shares, of course, belong any more to Taib’s children than it does to Ragad?
Such matters have not troubled the heads of the squabbling second generation and second wife naturally. They have simply focused like their father on filling their individual pockets.
Ragad, who now drips in diamonds and expensive fashion, has been somehow siphoning unaccounted for wealth out of the country as fast as she can muster. What salary does she earn?
A recent restaurant opening in KL is merely a token, according to those in the know, as the second wife has been creating a new base away from Malaysia in Istanbul where her family property portfolio has been expanding nicely.
Now the family are squabbling over these spoils, the people of Sarawak may learn more about what exactly is being taken from the country by such methods, if only thanks to the battles in open court.
Is it not time for the people themselves to also demand their money back from the lot of them?
Source : Sarawak Report
Ragad’s Next Move Is A Landgrab!
As the unfolding battle between Taib’s future heirs reaches court today, Monday 19th June, more exclusive information has been obtained by Sarawak Report that indicates that the state of health of the ailing Governor has critically worsened.
The jet in which he was travelling to Turkey on Saturday was forced to turn back when the octogenarian who has colon cancer suffered an intestinal blockage, a condition that can result in extremely severe consequences. According to intelligence received, the Governor is now warded in the Kuching Hospital receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, Sarawak’s premiere land grabbing Taib family may be shocked to learn that ‘stepmum’ Ragad has been grabbing land off them. This comes just days after SR revealed that Taib had allegedly also signed over 50 million CMSB shares to his second wife.
Sarawak Report can exclusively reveal that last week, just as the Taib Mahmud’s son Rahman Sulaiman moved to contest the handover of family shares in CMSB to the elderly Governor’s second wife Ragad, another transfer of valuable assets was also taking place.
This time the ‘loving gift’ consisted of three plots of plum property in Kuching. Worth millions of ringgit, according to insiders, they consist of two commercial properties on Jalan Kulas, presently the location for RHB Bank HQ in the area, as well as a huge chunk of prime building land in the top residential area adjacent to Taib’s own spacious residence Demak Jaya.
The Damak Laut plot is larger than Taib’s own residence and garden and boasts an eviable lengthy stretch along the river for exclusive water access and views.
The ownership transfer is believed to have been quietly submitted at the Land Registry around close of business on Wednesday, June 14 by the law firm Azlina Johan Advocates. Research into the registry indicates the Memorandum of Transfer was submitted without the original land titles (as is required) in an apparent bid to conceal that the original owner was Taib Mahmud.
The present beneficiary is clear, however. It is Ragad Kurdi Taib and she has received the prime property as a “Transfer through love and affection” which means it comes tax free.
Given that at least one of Taib’s four children are currently contesting the transfer of 50 million CMSB shares (worth over RM 1 each at current prices) it is highly unlikely that the Governor’s offspring have been informed of this separate further enrichment of their stepmother.
The CMSB case is due to return to court this very Monday morning where Rahman will be seeking to obtain an injunction on the grounds that the shares were left in his mother’s will to her own family (her four children and Taib) and that it was therefore illegal for Taib to hand them over to his second wife.
This dramatic turn of events will inevitably heighten suspicions rife in Kuching that the 87 year old former chief minister and once notorious strongman of Sarawak is no longer in control of his own affairs.
There have been numerous health concerns following his recovery from colon cancer several years ago and there was considerable astonishment over his second marriage to Ragad in 2010, given she was four decades younger than him.
Reportedly introduced through a marriage broker in the Middle East, it was widely assumed the Syrian bride was acquired largely for political reasons to counter accusations that Taib was too old to remain in office.
However, it soon became clear she had ambitions to step into the limelight and exert influence, if only on behalf of the two sons she turned out to have acquired through two previous marriages.
Ragad is now seen always at the increasingly frail Governor’s side, usually steering him through his paces at official and public events.
There has been widespread concern for some time over the Governor’s cognitive abilities and it is more than likely that those contesting these sudden handovers of assets, that were once firmly controlled by Taib himself, will seek to suggest that he has been made subject to undue control or even that a secret power of attorney may have been obtained over the official head of state!
If so, it would not be the first time Sarawak Report has exposed such a state of affairs. It was this site that revealed that none other than the previous official head of state of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa, was likewise secretly relieved of control over billions of dollars worth of his private assets by his half brothers, the Crown Prince MBZ and Sheikh Mansour. some years before his death.
Taib Mahmud also has billions of dollars worth of assets and it is clear that, as the former ‘CEO’ of Sarawak starts to fail, the battles between the would be inheritors of his wealth has well and truly begun.
Time to Freeze Taib Assets
Many will welcome Rahman Sulaiman’s move to freeze at least some of his family assets.
Given the enormous stakes involved and the clear evidence that all this wealth was acquired by gross corruption, kleptocracy and abuse of office, many would urge the relevant authorities to make their move now to freeze not only these but all the Taib possessions before they are purloined from under the Governor’s nose, so that they can be returned to the people of Sarawak to whom they belong.
Source : Sarawak Report