The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission will look into allegations surrounding the controversial RM4.4 billion River of Life (RoL) project.
MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said the commission would determine if there were elements of wrongdoing related to graft in the project before conducting an investigation.
She said the graft busters would not hesitate to take anyone responsible to task over the alleged mismanagement of the RoL project, especially the beautification of the Heritage Quarter, if there was evidence of corruption, abuse or other wrongdoings.
Latheefa said MACC took the allegations seriously and a team of officers had been assigned to check on allegations by experts that were reported by the New Straits Times.
“Our officers have been tasked with checking the veracity of the allegations involving the river beautification project commissioned through DBKL (City Hall), under the old administration.
“If there are indications of wrongdoing, abuse or corruption, MACC will carry out an investigation,” she told NST in a text message from Bangkok, Thailand, where she and MACC officers are attending an anti-graft conference.
“We will wait for the officers’ report. We want to be sure before a probe is initiated into the RoL project and those allegedly involved,” Latheefa said.
NST ran a series of reports on the project’s alleged shortcomings and called for a thorough probe. The Federal Territories Ministry has been urged to conduct an audit of the project.
Critics claimed that the beautification work in the Heritage Quarter was showing signs of wear and tear barely two years after the first phase of the project, which was launched by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2017.
Checks showed that the ornate tiles imported from Turkey and marble had cracked, and some of the fountains were not working.
The ministry was quoted as saying that it had requested allocations for RoL’s maintenance from the federal government.
This, said the ministry, was due to vandalism of RoL’s Heritage Quarter, which cost RM130 million, and is set to cost an estimated RM1 million more in repairs.
In May, Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Seri Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan had attributed the damaged and faded fountains, sunken pools, as well as broken marble and tiles, to vandals. However, others had claimed that it was due to the rushed job to complete the work by the 14th General Election last year.
Project contractor EkoRiver Construction Sdn Bhd had handed over the project to City Hall as its defect liability period had ended in June.
EkoRiver Construction, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ekovest Bhd, received the letter of award from City Hall to design and build the project at a cost of RM79 million in 2017.
Ekovest has a 60 per cent stake in the joint-venture company that was appointed in 2011 as the project delivery partner for RoL.
The project was initiated by the previous government. – NST
Earlier report: Oct 8, MACC Urged to Probe Drying Up of River of Life Fund