Malaysia Dateline

Musa Aman received kickbacks, not donations

I refer to Musa Aman’s lawyer Amer Hamzah’s statement published in Malaysiakini on June 11 under the title “Musa Aman’s acquittal: Decision fair and accurate”.

As the title suggests, Amer claimed that Musa is innocent. Reason? All the money he received were bona fide donation to Sabah Umno from “party supporters, members of public and central Umno”. None was related to timber concessions.

Is this true?

No, it is false.

One look at the list of charges against Musa, which provides details of each transaction, would reveal that these are not donations as claimed but kickbacks from timber concessionaires paid via Musa’s agents.

I attach the list through the link:, which tells the whole story.

As shown in the list, all the payments were sourced from timber concessionaires, and almost all were received by Musa’s two well-known agents, namely, Chia Tien Foh (Michael Chia) and Richard Christopher Barnes. And all payments were transacted overseas. None in Malaysia. And none from Amer’s so-called “party supporters, members of public and central Umno.”

A word on these two Musa agents.

Michael Chia is a household name in Sabah, popularly known as Musa’s money bag man. He held and transacted large sums of money (received from logging companies) overseas in trust for Musa.

Michael shot to international fame back in August 2008 when he was caught red handed with RM16 million worth of Singapore currency in the Hong Kong International Airport and was arrested for money trafficking and money laundering.

He then pleaded to be released, saying the money belonged to Musa, and he was only acting as Musa’s agent.

Like Michael Chia, Richard Christopher Barnes, a Sabah lawyer, is also Musa’s agent for holding and transacting millions in trust for Musa overseas.

Comprehensive details of Musa’s overseas money network of timber kickbacks handled by these two agents were provided by Sarawak Report in a series of articles.

Reading one such article dated April 15, 2012 (, one cannot help but conclude that the sum that Musa was asked to answer for in court is only the tip of an iceberg of what Musa had amassed over his 15 year rule of Sabah.

And certainly, by no stretch of imagination can one consider these logging companies in the prosecutor’s list as bona fide donors and characters like Michael Chia and Christopher Barnes as agents of donors to Sabah Umno.

If there were genuine donations, these would have been made directly to the party in Malaysia and not to clandestine accounts overseas held in foreign currencies by notorious Musa agents like Michael or Christopher.

Let us call a spade a spade. Musa was criminally charged for receiving kickbacks from the award of timber concessions, and certainly not for receiving donations on behalf of Sabah Umno.

And for such offence, Musa Aman was rightly charged for corruption and money laundering.


Kim Quek is the author of the banned book “The March to Putrajaya” (, and best seller “Where to, Malaysia?”.