“Mediator” Allegedly Paid Hefty Kickback in Selangor Illegal Sand Mining

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Details of a “broker” apparently living it up with alleged handsome payments for his purported “services” to get approvals from “higher authorities” in Selangor have emerged in relation to the illegal sand mining operation probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

  • Four men arrested, among them a “mediator” for contractors in many projects in Selangor
  • Paid handsomely for getting approvals from “higher authorities” in the state and bribing local government officers to not take action against illegal sand mining
  • Allegedly living a luxurious life, flaunting his wealth, despite being unemployed
  • Mining company found not to have a permit but raking in profits from activities using a fleet of lorries daily
  • Illegal sand mining operation believed to have cost the government millions in losses
  • The four individuals remanded include Azmin Ali’s nephew and a millionaire company director believed to be the mastermind 
  • Azmin claims nephew’s remand a “showcase” ahead of the Umno annual general assembly and a conspiracy to tarnish his and the state government’s reputation in the advent of GE14

The “mediator” was living a life of luxury, driving flashy cars and buying expensive items, including a big house, despite being unemployed, the New Straits Times (NST) reported yesterday.

He apparently even flaunted his wealth on social media.

According to the report, sources familiar with the MACC’s probe said the man was paid handsomely for his “services”, acting as a broker for contractors to get approvals from “higher authorities” in Selangor.

“The man was paid a substantial amount of money, which allowed him to live a life of luxury, just by being a ‘mediator’ for contractors in many projects in the state,” a source told the daily.

Asked by the NST if the “broker” was Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali’s nephew, the sources apparently declined to comment and were reluctant to reveal more about the individual to avoid jeopardising the investigation.

The report said that one source, however, said that the man in question was the “youngest of the four” and “the one with the connections”.

It was reported that the source also said that the MACC believed that Kajang was not the only place where the man had brokered deals for companies to carry out sand mining.

“Investigators are looking at other places, all within Selangor, where such activities are believed to be going on.

“This weekend, investigators will continue to interrogate the four men, and by Monday, we will move in based on the information gathered,” the source was quoted as saying.

Following a public tip-off on illegal mining activities, MACC officers raided a company in Sungai Long on Nov 29. At that time, they were unaware of the involvement of the menteri besar’s nephew.

“During questioning, a person by the name of ‘Aboy’ was mentioned.

“The suspect was then picked up at his house in Kuala Lumpur. Background checks showed he is related to the Menteri Besar,” a source was quoted as saying by The Star.

“We want to get to the bottom of this and find out how far the suspect has been using his uncle’s name for personal gains,” the source told the daily.

Four men were arrested in relation to an investigation launched by the MACC which revealed that the company had allegedly bribed local government officers in Kajang to ensure that they did not take action against the illegal sand mining.

Abd Rahim Rahmat/NST

The four individuals, aged between 34 and 67, have been remanded for seven days until Dec 6 to assist in the investigation.

The MACC has also recorded statements from seven individuals, including company employees and lorry drivers over the illegal mining activities.

The agency has so far found that the mining company did not have any permit, but had been raking in profits from the activities using tens of lorries on a daily basis.

“The MACC is now assessing the losses in terms of revenue failed to be collected by the state government and how the company managed to continue operating without being detected by the state government or local authorities,” sources told Bernama.

The Selangor state government is believed to have suffered millions of ringgit in losses each year due to the illegal sand and gravel mining activities by the Kajang company since 2014.

Initial investigations found that the company director, who is a millionaire, was the mastermind of the illegal mining activities.

“The company director also owns the entire mining area and efforts are being made to prosecute him,” the sources said.

On Nov 30, the MACC froze several of the mining company’s bank accounts totalling RM4 million, believed to be part of the profits from the illegal mining activities.

On the same day, the Selangor Menteri Besar’s Office confirmed that one of the four men arrested was Azmin’s nephew.

Besides the company director and Azmin’s nephew, the other two individuals remanded were another company director and a 45-year-old site manager.

Azmin’s strategic communications director Yin Shao Loong said the nephew is the son of one of Azmin’s sisters.

“We would like to emphasise that regardless of whether he is the nephew, son or cousin, any accusations dealing with graft should be professionally investigated,” Yin said in a statement.

The statement also claimed that there was a conspiracy to tarnish the reputation of the Menteri Besar and the state government in the advent of the 14th general election.

Azmin has labelled the case involving his 34-year-old nephew as a “showcase” ahead of the Umno annual general assembly, which is scheduled to be held from Dec 5 to Dec 9.

Malay Mail

“The fact that Umno bloggers got the news earlier shows that it has a sabotage element against the Selangor state administration,” he told reporters.

He said that tender matters related to sand mining in the state come under Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd, of which he is not a director.