Probe into Senior Public Servants, Companies, Robbing the Poor

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Ministry staff and 10 firms are allegedly linked to a graft probe of funds meant for the poor, with companies raided and RM150mil frozen.

  • A racket ongoing for years
  • Siphoning of massive funds meant for public projects
  • Projects declared on paper as completed, but actually nothing was done
  • Works not carried out according to specs
  • Indiscriminate cutbacks
  • Projects included infrastructure works, food programme for poor students
  • At least 5 ministry officers, 10 companies allegedly identified

It cannot get more despicable than to enrich oneself by robbing the poor and that is the probe the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been pursuing for more than a year but had been hampered by the slick operations of the corrupt where they left little paper trail and covered each other’s backs.

The probe was triggered by Bank Negara Malaysia’s Suspicious Transaction Report alert system and public tip-offs.

In its exclusive report yesterday, the New Straits Times (NST) said its sources had revealed that the scope, breadth and enormity of this case would put other major corruption scandals to shame.

“We are talking about massive amounts of leakages of government funds,” the report quoted a source as saying.

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The funds were supposed to be for projects and programmes meant to improve public welfare and local infrastructure, benefitting millions of Malaysians, including the hardcore poor.

Instead, a group of senior government officials at a ministry allegedly worked hand-in-glove with at least 10 companies to siphon off vast amounts of the funds, declaring on paper that projects that were supposed to be undertaken had been completed, when in reality, nothing was done.

The report said that according to its sources, the individuals would have easily embezzled some RM100 million, involving tens of projects and initiatives that were supposed to be implemented, including those that cost between RM500 million and RM1 billion.

According to a source close to the ongoing probe, MACC investigators had identified at least five ministry officers who were in cahoots with the companies to pilfer the funds, the report said.

“They have been doing it for a few years now and were siphoning funds off numerous projects that never materialised.

“Then, there are projects which were not carried out according to specifications.

“Cutbacks were done indiscriminately.

“This case is not just about stealing from funds that were supposed to go to infrastructure development.

“Even the food programme for poor students was not spared,” the NST quoted one of its sources as saying.

It was reported that the MACC may identify more companies that had been working with the civil servants as the probe progresses, and the case is investigated under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

In a separate report today, the NST said the MACC have frozen a whopping RM150 million, believed to have been siphoned off from the government allocations.

A series of raids was reportedly conducted on the companies involved to gather more evidence and the movements of the corrupt officials were also being watched closely.

Apparently, a source close to the investigations told the NST that since the racket started several years ago, some of the civil servants have moved on to other government agencies while some are still in the same posts from when they started helping themselves to public funds, adding that the swindlers will be “rounded up very soon”.

The report said that when MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki was asked about the case, he confirmed the probe but could not divulge details.

He said the commission had recently been dealing with many cases that involved the misappropriation of funds set aside for the benefit of the underprivileged.

“This includes abuse of power and graft, including civil servants in decision-making positions colluding with the corrupt from the private sector to line their own pockets,” Azam was quoted as saying, adding that among the commission’s focus in its war against corruption was to plug leakages in the government’s coffers.