Rafizi Ramli, who has led the campaign to expose the Cowgate scandal, has spoken about how he and his team were able to track down and make their startling disclosures about the National Feedlot Corporation.
People involved in the NFC have said two disgruntled former employees were responsible for leaking information to Rafizi, directory of strategy for Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Others have blamed a “beef cartel” out to sabotage the NFC.
Rafizi said the true identity of the whistleblower was anyone’s guess — “I myself don’t know to this day”, he told MalaysiaKini.
The big break in his campaign came with an email from someone using the pseudonym “lembu”, enclosing a PDF copy of the corporation’s cash book. Many people would have had access to the cashbook, he said.
Civil servants and NFC’s many employees who went “in and out” could also have had a hand. “But the way the emails are written tell me it is not the cartel or disgruntled employees. But I think it’s best I keep it to myself,” he said.
He said it was Umno minister Noh Omar’s defence of NFC in Parliament that brought the cashbook in his email.
“So that was the turning point. If Noh Omar hadn’t gone to Parliament and said that 8,000-plus heads of cattle was a national success, it could have died there,” he said.
Highlights of how Rafizi investigated the scandal:
- He and his team visited the National Feedlot Centre in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, under the pretext of wanting to buy cattle. They found the centre had at most 1,000-plus cows.
- Then the cashbook arrived by email. “I glanced through it quickly… and tried to pick up payments that did not fall into place. Payments for condominiums, and to high-end property developers certainly did not… make sense with a company of that sort…we went down (to check).”
- PKR made their own follow-up investigations, going to the sites of the properties and making searches.
- Going by gut feelings, they decided to take the risk. “If you want to have complete documents, I don’t think you will ever get everything.”
- No further inside information has arrived, only anonymous tip-offs in emails and dropped pieces of papers.
- “Yes, someone dropped a piece of paper which said a lot of things. For example, they bought houses there, they did this. But then again, a lot of (the information) when we did the follow-up… we were not confident. The (cashbook is) the one document which I think is really, really genuine. The rest may also be right but … until we are 70-80 percent confident (and are able to corroborate)… otherwise we don’t go near.”
He said more disclosures will follow.