So far, the largest amount a company has received from Mitra funds was RM9 million.
MACC is currently digging into the records of some 205 entities that received funds from the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra).
According to inside sources, the anti-graft agency suspected that many of the companies have made false claims, including cooking up records for non-existent programmes and activities.
The investigation of the 205 companies and organisations, however, is only the beginning.
A source close to the investigation told Malaysiakini that at this juncture, investigators have only started looking into entities which received funds ranging from RM1 million to RM9 million each.
“For now, MACC is focusing on those that received the big amounts first. So far, the largest amount a company has received from Mitra funds was RM9 million.
“There are many more that received funds below RM1 million. We will check all the companies that received funds disbursed by the transformation unit, to see if they really carried out the programmes as claimed in their reports,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mitra was set up in 2017, then known as the Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (Sedic), before it was restructured and rebranded to what it is known today when Pakatan Harapan took over the government in 2018.
The unit’s main roles were to identify issues faced by the Indian community, carry out socio-economic development activities and coordinate public-private cooperation towards developing the community.
According to a Bernama report recently, it was estimated that Mitra received a budget of RM100 million a year from the government.
MACC has so far arrested 17 individuals involved with the entities that are under investigation.
The latest was on Tuesday when investigators arrested the owner of a company which they believe had submitted a false report.
“We suspect that the man’s company did not even organise the programmes that they were supposed to do, despite claiming so in their report.
“He is now being remanded for five days,” said a source.
According to sources, MACC is also expected to call in a high-ranking official in Mitra, whom they believe had a personal interest in some of the companies in question.
“Investigators will call the official to record his statement soon.”
Meanwhile, MACC Chief Commissioner Azam Baki, when contacted, confirmed the latest arrest.
However, he declined to comment further on the case.
Asked if MACC expects to make more arrests, Azam told Malaysiakini: “I do not rule out the possibility that more will be arrested soon.”
On Tuesday, Bernama reported that MACC had arrested 16 company directors on suspicion of being involved in the misappropriation of Mitra funds.
Quoting sources, the report said that the group members were suspected to have misused tens of millions of ringgit meant for socio-economic programmes for the Indian community. – Malaysiakini