The Semporna-born lawyer said he is puzzled why Shafie, who was then Chairman of North Borneo Timber Berhad (NBT) and Sabah Umno Youth Chief, had done nothing about the allegations that he attempted to place the shares and equities of Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd (ICSB), a subsidiary of Sabah Foundation, in a public listed company.
"If true, it will be contradictory to what he is now propagating and advocating, i.e. to fight for the rights of 'Sabahans in a Sabah for Sabahans' battle cry," he said, adding that assuming it was true and had he succeeded in taking over and selling the shares, the people of Sabah would have suffered a huge loss of about RM800 million overnight. It would have been daylight robbery of Sabahans' interest in the Sabah Foundation," he said.
Ainal said the deal was exposed in a book that was widely distributed and is still fresh in the minds of many Umno divisional heads.
"If the book can be believed, Shafie tried to assert the executive power of the then Sabah Chief Minister (now Tun) Sakaran Dandai, who is his uncle, to approve the deal in 1994."
He said as Chairman of NBT, Shafie must have known that any such plan would involve masterminding the purchase of shares of a public listed company.
"My question is, if the allegations in the book are not true, how could Shafie keep quiet because he can't be protecting and defending the interest of Sabahans when at one time he was linked to taking over the shares and equities of ICSB."
The ICBS-NBT controversy started when NBT was said to have attempted to gain control over Sabah Softwoods Sdn Bhd (SSSB) and Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd (RBSB) involving the selling of 60 per cent equities of ICSB, a subsidiary of the Sabah Foundation.
Ainal said the proposed control over SSSB and RBSB would mean giving away 150,000 acres of Sabah Foundation lands to certain individuals while the taking over of RBSB would mean surrendering 247,000 acres of its timber concession to NBT.
He said it was also alleged that NBT had offered below market price for the Sabah Foundation subsidiaries.
SSSB was offered RM200 million although 60 per cent of its interest proposed for takeover by NBT was RM765 million.
He also claimed that RBSB's 104,000 hectares of concessions was valued at RM2.5 billion but was only offered RM100 million by NBT.
The deal, if it had gone through, not only breached the Security Commission laws but also violated Section 17 of the Sabah Foundation Enactment.
"The whole purported deal was done in bad faith that put behind the interest and rights of Sabahans who were the beneficiaries of the Sabah Foundation," he said.
Ainal said the deal was intercepted by current Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who was then a member of the Sabah Foundation's board of trustees.
"He (Musa) respectfully confronted Sakaran with the support of other board members not to approve the deal.
The minutes of the board meeting stands to testify that Musa had done what he had to do to save the Sabah Foundation."
"During the Usno, Berjaya and PBS era, the people's interest vested in the Sabah Foundation had been safely protected. Shafie should not have ignored this by trying to take away the foundation from them, if true," he added. - Leonard Alaza