JOHOR EXCO MAN HELD IN REAL ESTATE SCANDAL PROBE
Agency seizes cash, car and handbags from Latif’s house
STATE executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi was held here yesterday for investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into the Johor real estate corruption scandal.
Latif, who until two days ago was in charge of Johor’s housing and local government portfolio, was arrested after his statement was recorded into the case, which reportedly involved the loss of tens of millions of ringgit of potential revenue for the state.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest.
He said investigations were far from over, although the seven suspects who were earlier detained have been released on MACC bail.
A statement issued by MACC in Putrajaya confirmed the arrest and named the executive councillor and the portfolio he held.
MACC said it seized RM41,000, a Toyota Vellfire and 150 handbags from Latif ’s house yesterday.
A statement said he was expected to be produced at the Johor Baru Sessions Court today at 8.30am to be remanded.
“The case is being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act and Section 4 of the AntiMoney Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
“MACC asks all quarters to avoid making any speculation and it has given its guarantee that the investigation will be carried out in a transparent manner,” said the statement.
When commenting on the arrest, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he preferred to reserve comments pending the completion of the investigation.
Earlier yesterday, four of the suspects, who were detained in connection with the real estate corruption scandal, including the son and special officer of the executive councillor, were released on bail.
They were brought before Johor Baru magistrate court registrar Saba’aton Daud at 9.30am, and were seen being escorted out of the court 15 minutes later after being released on MACC bail.
The four were among six people, aged 25 to 50, who were arrested on Feb 24 facilitate investigations into the alleged Johor real estate scam.
A seventh suspect, a 46-yearold contractor, was detained on Feb 28.
MACC froze RM15.5 million in 45 bank accounts and seized 21 luxury cars, five high-powered motorcycles and RM500,000 in local and foreign currencies.
Investigations revealed the suspects converted the statuses of Bumiputera houses into non-Bumiputera houses to sell them at higher prices.
On March 1, the weekly executive councillor meeting chaired by Khaled approved a request from the executive councillor involved in the case to go on leave for an undetermined amount of time.
On Wednesday, Khaled announced a minor reshuffle involving the executive councillor’s portfolio, with a senior executive councillor, Datuk Md Jais Sarday, temporarily taking over the state housing and local government portfolio.
Jais’s current portfolio for the state education, information, entrepreneurship and cooperatives development committee were re-delegated among executive councillors, Datuk Ayub Rahmat and Ismail Mohamed.
Handbags seized by MACC at Datuk Abd Latif Bandi’s house.
MACC officers escorting the four suspects released on MACC bail at the magistrate’s court in Johor Baru yesterday.