More time needed for LCS probe, says MACC chief

(FMT) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) needs more time for its investigation into the troubled RM9 billion littoral combat ship (LCS) project, says top graft-buster Azam Baki.

The MACC chief commissioner told a press conference the anti-graft agency needed some time to summon more witnesses, including a few who were overseas.

“There are many aspects that we need to look into. I want everyone to understand that the matters pertaining to governance and criminality are different.

“We are looking into whether a criminal offence has been committed by any party, so my officers need more time to do that,” he said

Asked if MACC will call special functions minister Abd Latiff Ahmad to give his statement over his alleged links to the project, Azam said: “No comment.”

“We are still investigating. We need to check on that,” he said.

Last month, former Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) managing director Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor was charged in the sessions court with three counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM21.08 million.

BNS was tasked with building six navy frigates in the LCS project, which has come under parliamentary scrutiny over costs and delays in construction.

Following the charges against Ramli, certain quarters had demanded authorities go deeper into their probe and investigate the “big fishes” behind the project.

PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli had linked Latiff to the scandal, alleging that the Mersing MP’s wife had ties with the project.

Latiff had denied all allegations levelled against him and filed a police report, prompting the police to investigate Rafizi, the former Pandan MP.

Separately, Azam said he expected the investigation into those who allegedly received kickbacks from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) to be completed in the near future.

“We have called almost all the names mentioned in the UKSB ledger. I expect the probe to be completed in the near future,” he said.

It is learned that the ledger was kept by a former UKSB manager.

Its existence was revealed in former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial.

Among those named in the ledger include former prime ministers Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin, former Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal, former foreign minister Anifah Aman, former home minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former deputy foreign minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

All of them have publicly denied receiving money from UKSB.