Bruno Manser Fund calls for investigation of CMS takeover by the Taib family

Sarawak Governor’s family accused of fraudulent takeover of state’s largest infrastructure company – Bursa Malaysia suspends trade with CMS shares for second day

KUCHING, SARAWAK / MALAYSIA. The Swiss NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund, is calling for an official investigation by the new Malaysian Government of the takeover of Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) by the family of Sarawak Governor and former Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

According to the Bruno Manser Fund, close relatives of the Sarawak Governor arranged for the Taib family to gain control over the state-owned infrastructure conglomerate in the 1990s via a series of fraudulent transactions resulting in a reverse take-over. Subsequently, CMS became the preferred beneficiary of Sarawak government contracts.

A 2015 investigation by the Bruno Manser Fund identified public contracts worth over MYR 4.9 billion (US$ 1.2 billion) that had been granted to CMS by the Sarawak government under Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. The construction of the new Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) building and an exclusive 15-year contract for the maintenance of public roads were among the biggest contracts awarded to CMS

“Corruption is the main reason for CMS’ economic success during the last years“, said Lukas Straumann, the executive director of the Bruno Manser Fund. “The takeover of CMS by the Taib family and its relationship with the Taib regime need to be urgently investigated by the new Malaysian government.“

On Monday, Bursa Malaysia temporarily suspended trading with CMS shares for the second day in a row due to massive losses. The share has lost over 50% since Pakatan Harapan’s surprise election win on 9 May 2018.

In a letter to the shareholders, CMS Group Chief Executive Officer Isaac Lugun said the Bruno Manser Fund’s offer to share evidence on Taib corruption with the new Malaysian government was a key reason for the latest losses.

For more info, contact: Bruno Manser Fonds Socinstrasse 37 4051 Basel Switzerland