Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony is not hiding from graft investigators; in fact, he was unaware he was wanted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Anthony’s lawyer Martin Tommy said he would accompany the politician to go to the MACC Sabah office in Kota Kinabalu at 2.30pm on Friday.
He said that his client has no intention of absconding and has been resting in his hometown of Keningau with his family.
“My client has always been in Sabah. He is resting with his family in Keningau, and has some medical problems. As you know, he was admitted to hospital during his arrest previously,” he said.
Tommy said that they were caught by surprise by the MACC notice asking Anthony to turn himself in to investigators.
“We were not aware of the notice till we read it in the papers this morning,” he added.
He revealed that neither he, as the counsel on record for Anthony, nor his client had received any calls from MACC to come in previously.
“I am surprised as his lawyer that they did not call me to ask me to reach Anthony.
“The MACC bail he is under is also still valid and doesn’t expire till January 26, there is no reason to issue this notice,” Tommy said.
On Wednesday, MACC Putrajaya issued a notice calling for Anthony and a lawyer, Michael Persius Ubu, to surrender themselves within 48 hours to assist in an investigation into a case involving an RM155 million plot of oil palm land purchased by RISDA in Sabah’s central Tongod district a few years ago.
Warisan deputy president Junz Wong said MACC’s action to issue the notice publicly next to another wanted person had dubious intentions, the Malay Mail reported.
“What are they trying to insinuate by putting him next to someone who apparently has been missing for months now? It is bad for his political image and it suggests that he has been running away from MACC,” Wong was quoted saying, adding that Anthony is only a phone call away.
He also said the RISDA case was not new and Persius Ubu was more of a person of interest in the case.
“As far as we know, he is the lawyer representing Risda. They’ve been looking for him, but we don’t know anything about him,” Wong reportedly said.
Anthony was arrested late last year in connection with MACC investigations into the alleged embezzlement of federal funds meant for rural Sabah projects during the period when Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was heading the ministry.
Anthony and Shafie, who is now the Warisan president, were among 13 people arrested in the high profile investigations. They are both out on MACC bail.
Anthony was also previously investigated over an alleged RM42 million false claim made in relation to a landscaping project for Universiti Malaysia Sabah.