New Straits Times
Explain payment claims, Penang government told
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government must explain claims that Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd had allegedly paid two businessmen to “close” the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation into the proposed RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.
State Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow said this was necessary in view of the state administration’s competency, accountability and transparency slogan.
“The state government must explain to people the claims and status of the project.
“How could such a thing happen and whether there was any wrongdoing in the project’s implementation.
“This is because allegations that Zenith Construction allegedly paid RM22 million to two businessmen to close the investigation are a serious matter.
“It raises the question from where they got the RM22 million,” he said yesterday.
Teng said public in- terest would be affect- ed if the state government ig- nored the issue.
“And, to compound matters, Consortium Zenith has kept quiet since the allegations surfaced,” he said.
On Sunday, MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki said the commission would conduct separate investigations into the project and the two businessmen.
He had said the investigations carried out on the two individuals were unrelated to MACC’s investigation into the project.
Azam said the investigation into the two businessmen, a Datuk and a Datuk Seri, being held on remand, was conducted under Section 16 of the MACC Act 2009 for bribery.
On Saturday, a businessman, a Datuk, was remanded for four days by the Putrajaya magistrate’s court to assist an investigation into a bribery case involving RM3 million, which was meant to cover up MACC’s probe into the project.
It is learnt that the suspect had allegedly received RM3 million from the project’s main contractor via four transactions last year after the suspect allegedly claimed he was able to “settle” the investigation.
The suspect had allegedly asked for RM4 million, but negotiations saw the asking price reduced to RM3 million.
He was the second person to be remanded after a Datuk Seri was accused of receiving RM19 million for the same purpose.
Up to last week, the graftbusters have recorded statements from 127 witnesses to assist in its investigation into the project, which will connect Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam in Butterworth once completed.