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More seizures; 38 firms linked
Published on: Friday, October 07, 2016
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Kota Kinabalu: Anti-corruption officers are sinking their teeth deeper into the biggest ever scandal they have uncovered to date with six more individuals comprising employees of the State Water Department and a company pulled up for questioning. A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) source said the company is believed to have received contracts from the department in Sabah.

Statements from all the six who they believe can assist in their investigations were recorded on Thursday.

In what is appearing to be a protracted investigation, the source revealed that MACC will also soon be calling in more than 40 witnesses who have been identified to have been directly involved in the process of awarding projects and that a majority of them are Water Department officials and contractors.

In another development, the MACC has opened all seven safes belonging to the deputy director of the department in several banks here, the last three being accessed Thursday.

The source said a total of about RM3.3 million in cash and yet-to-be valued jewellery were seized from all the seven safes.

"This amount includes the RM2.5 million seized from one of the seven safes at the beginning of the investigation," said the source.

The source said MACC is expected to call pawn shop operators today (Friday) to assess all the jewellery that had been confiscated.

These new developments come on the heels of the arrests on Tuesday of two top officials – the director and deputy director – of a State department who were among four people subsequently remanded for seven days on a case of abuse of power involving infrastructure projects valued at RM3.3 billion.

The source said no new arrests were made but that MACC officers are still actively collecting evidence from witnesses and related documents, in addition to recording statements from the four men remanded.

The source said MACC was also still assessing and determining the value of jewellery, handbags, watches and land titles seized during the raids which began on Tuesday morning.

"Family members of the four men have not made any attempt to flee the country and they will also be called in to assist in investigations soon," said the source.

Additionally the MACC will also seek cooperation from other countries via Mutual Legal Assistance to obtain information on bank accounts owned by the four men outside the country, the source added.

"The director is suspected of using more than 17 companies owned by his siblings and proxies, while the deputy director is suspected of using 21 companies owned by his siblings," said the source.

The director and deputy director of the State department are suspected of monopolising projects valued at more than RM3.3 billion under the purview of their department since 2010 by giving them to relatives and are believed to have amassed more than RM50 million in wealth.

A 55-year-old businessman with the title 'Datuk' and his 50-year-old accountant, suspected to be linked to the two government officers were also remanded on Wednesday.

The case also led to the biggest seizure in the history of MACC, with cash and kind seized being:

- RM114.5 million

- Eight luxury cars – Range Rover, Audi, BMW, Ford Ranger, Mercedes Benz, Mazda, Lexus and Volvo

- Branded watches

- 94 branded handbags estimated to be worth RM500,000

- Jewellery

- Foreign currencies worth RM8.3 million

- 127 State land titles

- Seven safes

It took about a year for the MACC to crack the biggest case in its history.

A special team was set up to investigate the case from last year involving over 70 MACC officials in the operation called Ops Water.

Civilian tip-offs and surveillance led to the arrest of the four men and the seizure of all the items during raids conducted in the department's office and several houses which started at 9.15am on Tuesday.

The amount of cash confiscated was so huge that it took about 15 hours straight for 30 MACC officials to count it.



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