Sunday February 10, 2013
Philippines lauds move to suspend assets of Ponzi scheme man
PETALING JAYA: The Philippines has welcomed the move by Malaysia to “check and freeze” all financial records and assets of a man suspected of being involved in a pyramid scheme involving RM896mil in the Philippines.
Embassy information officer Johann Andal said the move was significant in efforts to facilitate investigations into the scheme where some 15,000 Filipinos in the Visayas Islands and Mindanao had allegedly lost their money.
“The Philippine Embassy welcomes the freezing of Manuel Amalilio's assets in Malaysia by Malaysian authorities.
“It is a significant step in the vigorous efforts to recover the 12bil pesos (RM896mil) lost to the scheme run by him and his cohorts,” she said yesterday.
She said authorities in the Philippines would continue to cooperate with their Malaysians counterparts to ensure that Amalilio would be charged as soon as possible for the mass fraud charges filed against him in the Philippines.
“The early commencement of a criminal trial, during which Amalilio will be entitled to due process, is crucial in rendering justice to the thousands of people in Mindanao who lost their savings to the nefarious scheme,” she added.
On Friday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail directed authorities here to check and freeze the suspect's financial records and assets.
This followed a meeting between Gani and Philippines' Justice Minister Jose Vicente B. Salazar, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya and several officials.
On Jan 25, Amalilio, also known as Mohammad Kamal Sa'ad, was arrested by Malaysian police at Terminal Two, Kota Kinabalu International Airport, for having a fake Filipino passport. He was charged on Feb 4 and was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
In a related development, PKR vice-president Tian Chua who led an Opposition fact-finding mission to Manila to gather more information on the case, questioned the manner in which Amalilio was hastily charged and convicted here.
Tian Chua, who was accompanied by Subang MP R. Sivarasa and PKR deputy secretary-general Darrel Leiking, also claimed that Amalilio's Philippines' passport was genuine.