KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah Finance Ministry adviser has been arrested in the on-going probe into abuse of power and corruption at the Sabah Water Department (SWD).
Sources said investigators seized a Mercedes Benz and Toyota Land Cruiser from the man, who is believed to be another key figure in the massive siphoning of federal allocations for water projects worth RM3.3bil since 2010.
The 62-year-old suspect, who was picked up from his office yesterday, had retired as a deputy director of the state water department last year before he was appointed the ministry adviser in technical and engineering matters.
The man is the fifth person arrested in the connection with the case being probed by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).
Investigators have seized more than RM190mil, including nearly RM57mil in cash, gold, properties and frozen bank accounts from the director and deputy director of the department following the Oct 4 arrest.
The sources said that the man was believed to have also collected kickbacks from contractors.
However, the investigators have yet to make any immediate seizures of cash from him.
He has been remanded for six days.
The sources said the man was a key figure in the alleged complex scheme that was already in place while he was the deputy director of the department for 12 years.
MACC deputy commissioner for operations Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the latest arrest but declined to comment.
MACC had also arrested a Datuk businessman, who is the elder brother of the department’s current deputy director. The brother’s company accountant has also been detained under Ops Water.
The 54-year-old director’s six-day remand is expected to end today while the remand for the 52-year-old deputy and his brother, 55, and accountant, 50, will end on Monday.
Investigators have uncovered some 38 companies linked to cronies and families of the two top water officials who have been given contracts for the projects under special federal allocations.
Some 78 witnesses including state water department officials have been questioned, with at least three of them returning RM1mil in cash they had purportedly accepted in the process of approving the water contracts.
The contracts were bid through limited tenders or parcelled out in smaller amounts to avoid the tender process.