PETALING JAYA: Two senior government officials have been remanded in Malacca and Johor over separate cases of graft involving millions of ringgit.
In Malacca, a senior state government official with the title of Datuk was remanded for four days.
The 55-year-old was brought to the magistrate’s court by the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission (MACC) officers before the remand order was issued by assistant registrar Syarina Shaarani @ Tan.
On Monday in Putrajaya, MACC also detained and obtained a fiveday remand for a 70-year-old contractor with links to the Malacca senior official, who was believed to have solicited kickbacks in exchange of approval for projects.
It is learnt that MACC had frozen 22 bank accounts owned by the senior official and his family members amounting to RM11mil and 24 accounts belonging to the contractor totalling RM12mil.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the latest arrest, adding that the investigation would zoom in on the projects involving the two suspects.
In Johor Baru, an assistant officer with the Johor Land Office was remanded for six days by a magistrate’s court over abuse of power in a land acquisition case.
Clad in an MACC orange lock-up shirt, the suspect, in his 50s, was brought in under the escort of several officers at around 11am. The remand order was approved by assistant registrar Norhidayah Abdul Manaf.
MACC state director Datuk Simi Abdul Ghani told Bernama that it was in the process of identifying the source of the man’s assets.
The suspect, he said, was believed to have abused his position to obtain land through land offices in other districts as well as acquire these via ownership transfers.
Initial investigation revealed that the suspect owned several pieces of agricultural land as well as a few residential plots and luxury homes.
In another case, a director of a federal agency in Labuan was rearrested by MACC a day after his remand for a graft probe over a RM12mil food court in Tg Purun expired.
This time, the suspect, 59, was held over a probe into a building and infrastructure project worth RM48mil in Labuan.
Yesterday, Labuan magistrate’s court registrar Haizah Tamin granted a seven-day remand order against the director.
So far, MACC has recorded statements from 17 witnesses, including two civil servants and staff from several companies and contractors.
However, sources said no new arrests or seizure of assets and property had been made.
Graft investigators are still sifting through documents and other evidence to determine the number of contracts in the project since the director took over the helm about two years ago.
Two contractors, in their 40s, who were detained with the director earlier over the food court project, have been released.
The director is said to have asked for RM100,000 from the contractors as kickback for awarding them the project.
Confirming the re-arrest, Azam said the director was detained over an ongoing probe under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act for offering and receiving bribes.
So far, 12 bank accounts with cash amounting to RM889,000 belonging to the suspect and several family members have been frozen.
MACC is also tracing several million ringgit allegedly transferred out of the accounts shortly before the suspect was picked up.
Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said MACC’s action against the state senior official reflected its government’s transparency.
There had been speculation that the officer was closely linked to certain key officials in the state, including himself, said Idris.
“Anyone can be seen to be close to me, but when it comes to corrupt practices, I will be the first to stand against it,” he said.
However, he urged people not to jump to any conclusion as the probe was still ongoing.
Senior officials held for alleged graft
PETALING JAYA: Two senior civil servants, one of whom is a Datuk, were detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Malacca and Johor for alleged corrupt practices.
Sources said the first suspect, aged 55, was picked up in downtown Malacca at about 2pm yesterday and is to be remanded today.
More than 20 bank accounts containing over RM10mil were frozen.
It is learnt that the suspect was soliciting kickbacks in exchange for approval of projects involving local authorities.
The sources said the MACC was currently determining the amount of money and number of projects involved.
More individuals are expected to be picked up to facilitate investigations.
In a separate case, an assistant land district officer was also picked up over alleged corruption.
The suspect, in his 50s, was detained when he appeared at the Johor MACC office to have his statement recorded at about 2pm yesterday.
Sources said the suspect was said to have misused his position to obtain land, including alleged illicit transfer of land ownership.
The case is being investigated under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009.
Initial investigations showed the suspect owned several plots of agricultural land covering 6.77ha.
In addition, he is said to have acquired a 27.51ha piece of jointly-developed land, residential land and a high-cost luxury unit in several districts in Johor.
Johor MACC director Datuk Simi Abdul Ghani confirmed the arrest.
He said the suspect would be brought to the court for a remand order to detain him further as part of the probe.
Earlier this month, the MACC arrested two senior office bearers of two government-linked companies over suspected abuse of power and corruption.
Cash and other assets worth millions were seized and bank accounts frozen.
Last week, a federal agency director and two contractors were also detained.
The contractors had been released but the director was re-arrested to assist in a money-laundering probe.
By Simon Khoo The Star/Asian News Network
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