Corruption agency seizes $38m from 2 Sabah officials
IT CAME as a shock to even the most seasoned graft-busters.
In the biggest seizure in its 49-year history, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) recovered RM114 million (S$38 million) from the top two officials of the Sabah Water Department.
This includes RM53.7 million in cash that took more than 30 officers 15 hours to count.
Also recovered in the homes and offices of the department's director and his deputy were nine mostly luxury vehicles, expensive watches, jewellery and 94 high-end handbags.
The cash - RM45 million seized from the director and RM7.5 million from his deputy - was found stashed inside safes, cupboards, drawers and also a car boot, according to the MACC.
Also seized was RM1.18 million in over half-a-dozen foreign currencies.
The two senior state civil officers were arrested on Tuesday and will be remanded for a week for investigations into alleged kickbacks involving RM3.3 billion worth of federal projects.
"It is the highest amount of cash we have ever recovered in our history," newly promoted MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Azam Baki told a news conference on Wednesday.
A 55-year-old businessman with a Datuk title, who is believed to be the brother of the deputy director, and his company accountant have also been arrested in connection with the probe.
The MACC has also frozen some RM60 million in accounts of the two officials and the company they purportedly have links to.
"In cash and bank accounts, we have seized RM114 million in total," Mr Azam said.
MACC believes that a large sum of money might have been channelled to bank accounts in a neighbouring country, he added, without disclosing details.
The agency is now trying to gain access to five safes at a bank, he added.
The MACC team also found 127 land titles worth millions of ringgit and nine vehicles totalling RM3 million in value.
Mr Azam said MACC began investigations about a year ago after receiving tip-offs.
"We are still working out the money trail, and it will take some time as it is a complex investigation," he added.
ASIA NEWS NETWORK