MACC suspects RM1.5b siphoned from rural Sabah projects

(MMO) – As much as RM1.5 billion was diverted from a federal ministry’s funds meant for projects in rural Sabah, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said when hinting at further arrests in the brewing scandal.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said they were scrutinising over 60 companies that were given RM7.5 billion worth of projects for water supply, electricity and roads in Sabah between 2009 and 2015.

“Some of these projects have elements of corruption, while others were not carried out in accordance to specifications,” he said.

“We are still trying to locate some of these businesses; some have closed so we have a team to search for them,” he added.

The investigation so far has resulted in three arrests: a Sabah politician, a former deputy secretary with the federal ministry, and a construction firm owner.

The MACC has also seized some RM180 million held in various accounts.

The three men were arrested yesterday. The former official has already been remanded while the other two are also set to be detained further.

Azam said the investigation came from public tip-offs following last year’s Sabah Water Department incident, which then alerted them to irregularities in the ministry’s award process for  projects and appointments.

“We suspect that some contractors have given bribes in order to obtain the projects,” he said.

Azam declined comment on the political aspect of the investigation, saying his agency acted without prejudice.