Wednesday, June 26

Sabah Water Department corruption scandal: Three to be charged today


KOTA KINABALU: Three suspects in the Sabah Water Department’s multi-million ringgit corruption scandal are scheduled to be officially charged by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today.

They are expected to be presented at the Sessions Court at 9am, a source close to MACC said.

Twenty-eight people, including the department’s director and two of his deputies, were detained during the Ops Water operation, which began in early October.

Also apprehended were 23 divisional and district engineers and two other individuals who were allegedly involved in the case.

MACC had also recorded statements from 200 witnesses during the investigations.

MACC’s deputy commissioner of operations, Datuk Azam Baki Azam has been reported as saying that MACC had seized or frozen properties amounting to RM114.5 million, comprising cash, bank accounts, unit trusts and other assets within and outside of the country.

Azam said investigations involved 137 MACC officers from its headquarters as well as from  various divisions and states.

It was reported that Water Department officials were alleged to have abused their power by awarding contracts to 38 companies owned by their families or cronies, to siphon federal funds.

MACC investigations were to have implicated top department officials in connection with the siphoning of money from RM3.3 billion worth of federal allocations for state rural water projects since 2010.

Azam has been quoted as saying that certain individuals in the department might have been collecting as much as 27 per cent to 30 per cent  in kickbacks from the contracts awarded.

MACC investigators were also looking into suspected money laundering in their bid to recover some RM30 million that had been reportedly stashed away in  accounts overseas.