PUTRAJAYA: The special committee to look into procurement will clear cases of any wrongdoing if investigations show that purchases on behalf of the Government were done by the book, said its chairman Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.
“We are not involved with witch hunts. If the case we investigate shows no signs of wrongdoing, we will definitely say so and clear the case.
“We are going into this with an open mind,” he said in response to a question on whether the committee was on a witch hunt.
The Cabinet, during its meeting on May 30, had agreed to the setting up of a committee investigating governance, procurement and finance in ministries and agencies.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when announcing its set-up, had named Ambrin, who served as the Auditor-General prior to his retirement last year, as committee head.
The seven-member committee, which held its first meeting yesterday, went through some projects under the Defence Ministry (Mindef).
Ambrin explained that the ministry was its first assignment as requested by the minister.
“While we are tasked to look at procurements made by ministries, it does not necessarily mean that all ministries will be investigated.
“We are focusing on cases that are suspicious,” he told the media after chairing the committee’s first meeting yesterday.
Ambrin said apart from conducting investigations, the committee was also responsible for advising the Government on how to ensure effective procurement and prevent leakages.
“Our role is to also recommend improvements to the procurement process, as there is a lot of talk about leakages.
“Hopefully, with our proposal, further leakages can be prevented and the country can enjoy higher revenue,” he added.
Ambrin, however, refused to reveal the Mindef procurements being investigated by his committee or whether the purchase of the controversial Scorpene submarines from France was among them
“I can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We will see,” he added.
Findings by the committee will be presented to the Cabinet, which will then decide on the next course of action and whether to make the report public.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had said the committee would investigate alleged corruption in the purchase of two French submarines in 2002, when former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was the defence minister.
Ambrin said the committee welcomed any information – even from the press, NGOs and officers – on procurements that it should look into and did not rule out calling former ministers or high-ranking office bearers in the process of investigation.
The other members of the committee are former president of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants Tan Sri Dr Abdul Samad Alias; former secretary-general of Rural and Regional Development Ministry Datuk Dr Mohd Tap Salleh; National Integrity and Governance Department director-general Datuk Dr Anis Yusal Yusof; former director of audit, National Audit Department Datin Paduka Ong Swee Leng; lawyer Dr Zulqarnain Lukman and Finance Ministry senior officer Rosli Yaakob, who is head of secretariat.
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