PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is zeroing in on how RM48mil of Government funds meant to uplift the rural poor was moved across an intricate web of companies.
The graftbusters are said to be probing 14 Sabah-based companies, said to be involved in the “disappearance” of the money over seven years, which is part of the RM1.5bil misappropriation of funds that MACC is looking into.
It was discovered that the main “formula” for the embezzlement involved an inflation of the project prices by 25% where in the end, 15% which is equivalent to RM48mil, had gone into the pockets of others
The focus is part of the investigations into former Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who held the post from 2009 to 2015.
His two brothers – Datuk Yusof and Hamid – were also sought to facilitate the probe. Both siblings were released last Monday and on Oct 19 respectively.
The MACC is also investigating the role of two Datuks in the money trail and who had appointed them.
“We have questioned Shafie’s brothers to seek their assistance on this matter.
“The RM48mil which has been siphoned off may only be the tip of an iceberg of how deep this alleged misappropriation of funds can be.
A complicated business channel was used to blind the authorities and most of the dealings were done in cold hard cash to avoid traces, sources told The Star.
These sources said MACC is investigating whether family members and political supporters were involved in the entire tender and awarding of selected projects to the 14 companies, believed to be appointed by a Datuk.
This Datuk pulled together 14 companies that he did not necessarily own, but which he exerted much influence as it belonged to his famiy and friends.
Instead of honouring the projects, the MACC wants to know whether “the 14 companies were used mainly for namesake and all the projects were unofficially subcontracted to a well-connected businessman, who has direct links to the politician.”
The prices of the projects were said to have been marked up by 25% where 15% went to one of the Datuks, who then channelled it to others.
“We believe the other 10% went to one Datuk who appointed the 14 companies, out of which 3% was divided between the companies as a ‘service fee’,” sources added.
Sources said that only companies based in Sabah were appointed in what is believed to be a move for political expediency and “to reward political cronies”.
The sources also said that the investigations were almost completed and the MACC would be proceeding with its next course of action.Shafie was released on Friday after an eight-day remand.
He was out on a RM100,000 bail by a magistrate’s court.