MACC: RM1.5bil siphoned from federal rural project funds in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Graft busters are investigating how RM1.5bil was siphoned from a total of RM7.5bil funds allocated for rural projects in Sabah over the past six years.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki (pic) said they were investigating some 60 companies that were awarded projects for the supply of water, electricity and roads to help people in rural Sabah.

"We are not targeting any specific personalities but will call up anyone whom we believe is connected to the projects," he told reporters at the MACC office here on Friday.

He said the investigations involved projects which were not completed or done in accordance with specifications.

Azam said the commission suspected that contractors gave bribes to certain people to secure the projects.

Under the procedures in awarding Federal-funded projects, Azam said that the relevant authority would appoint its own contractors and follow its own procedures.

He said that MACC's investigations into rural project funds began after it received information from whistleblowers, similar to last year's "Sabah Watergate" scandal.

In the Watergate scandal, three people were accused of laundering RM61.48mil and owning luxury goods from their illegal activities.

Azam Baki , MACC , Malaysia