D RM52m cash IZE SE

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHARLES RAMENDRAN

KOTA KIN­A­BALU: In the big­gest haul ever made in the his­tory of graft-bust­ing in Malaysia, a whop­ping RM52.2 mil­lion in cold hard cash was seized yes­ter­day by the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Com­mis­sion (MACC) fol­low­ing the ar­rests of two se­nior of­fi­cials of the Sabah Wa­ter De­part­ment (SWD) on Tues­day.

The money is be­lieved to be kick­backs from RM3.3 bil­lion worth of work con­tracts they al­legedly awarded to sib­lings since 2010.

Stacks of ban­knotes that were packed and boxed were seized from the of­fice, homes and bank safe de­posit boxes of a 54-year-old SWD di­rec­tor and his 51- year- old deputy.

It is learnt that the bulk of the cash, amount­ing to about RM45 mil­lion was found in the di­rec­tor’s pos­ses­sion while the rest was kept by his deputy.

The cash is be­lieved to be part of RM112 mil­lion the duo and their sib­lings al­legedly amassed via il­le­gal means.

MACC deputy chief com­mis­sioner (op­er­a­tions) Datuk Azam Baki said yes­ter­day both men were ar­rested in sep­a­rate op­er­a­tions in Sabah on Tues­day.

He said they also seized 127 land ti­tles and nine ve­hi­cles com­pris­ing two BMWs, a Range Rover, Audi, Ford Ranger, Mercedes Benz, Mazda, Lexus and a Volvo.

MACC also froze RM23 mil­lion found in the bank ac­counts of the sus­pects and their fam­ily mem­bers.

Lux­ury mer­chan­dise such as branded watches, 94 de­signer hand­bags and jew­ellery be­long­ing to the wives of the sus­pects were also seized.

Azam said in a fol­low-up op­er­a­tion yes­ter­day, MACC ar­rested a 55-year-old busi­ness­man who is a Datuk and a brother of the de­tained SWD deputy di­rec­tor.

He said a 50-year-old ac­coun­tant em­ployed by the sus­pects al­legedly to man­age their ill-got­ten funds was also ar­rested.

In ad­di­tion, MACC also froze about RM37 mil­lion found in a com­pany ac­count which is linked to one of the ar­rested SWD of­fi­cials.

He added that more bank safe de­posit boxes leased by the sus­pects will be in­spect by MACC soon.

“In the 49-year his­tory of this agency, we have never seized and frozen this amount of money from any in­di­vid­ual, par­tic­u­larly one in­volv­ing a civil ser­vant.

“The de­tained SWD of­fi­cials had mo­nop­o­lised the ten­ders and awarded the con­tracts for the con­struc­tion of ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture worth RM3.3 bil­lion to their sib­lings since 2010.

“They have not only flouted the law but de­prived other con­trac­tors of a liv­ing by keep­ing them out of the ten­der process.”

Azam said all four sus­pects are be­ing held for in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­der a seven-day re­mand or­der granted by mag­is­trate Stephanie Sher­ron Ab­bie.

It is learnt the RM3.3 bil­lion were funds dis­bursed to SWD by the fed­eral govern­ment.

Azam also said in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed the sus­pects had moved an undis­closed amount of their il­licit funds to a neigh­bour­ing coun­try.

Azam (sec­ond from left) and other MACC of­fi­cers with part of the cash and other items seized from the sus­pects.

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