Mindef goes to MACC with remaining 14 fishy land swap deals

PUTRAJAYA: All 16 questionable land swap deals involving the Defence Ministry (Mindef) are now in the court of the anti-graft agency.

Mindef, which earlier lodged two reports with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), reported the remaining 14 cases yesterday.

The reports, including the findings of the Governance, Procure­ment and Finance Investigating Committee (GPFIC), were lodged by the Defence Minister’s special officer Mohd Nasaie Ismail.

“Our concern is not just about the loss of millions (of ringgit) but also the country’s military strategy which has been affected by the failure of the projects and because of wrong priorities,” he said when met outside the MACC headquarters here.

Based on the findings of the GPFIC, as of last December, five projects had been completed, two were under construction, and nine failed to meet the completion deadline. The other agreements have yet to be signed.

It was concluded that 13 of the 16 projects – including the construction of army camps in Bera, Segamat, Paloh and Hutan Melintang – were approved due to political consideration and not in national interest.

The GPFIC investigation revealed the government lost RM515.21mil due to extensions given for projects which could not be completed as scheduled, additional contracts that were not in the initial project plan, and land that was evaluated lower than current market price.

It is learnt that the delay in building a transit camp and the Rejimen 502 Askar Wataniah camp in Kuala Lumpur was the longest – 11 years. It has since been completed.

Nasaie said the 16 projects involved 1,182ha of land belonging to the government valued at RM4.7bil. The value of the projects that were supposed to be developed on these plots was worth RM4.8bil.

From the 16 deals, only two – the construction of National Defence Studies Centre in Putrajaya and a facility for the RMAF’s 232rd squadron in Bukit Banang, Johor – were listed in the ministry’s development plan.

Nasaie said investigation by the GPFIC found that 10 of the deals were initiated and proposed by the private sector where companies had identified the land to be swapped and proposed projects for Mindef to consider.

Former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, responding yesterday, said he would submit a report to the MACC so that the questionable land swap deals could be thoroughly investigated.

“Whatever information that we have, we will send it directly to the MACC,” he said in a statement.

Among others, the 14 projects involved the development of the 11th Brigade headquarters and an armament depot in Serendah (land swap with Sungai Buloh camp), construction of an army infantry battalion camp in Batu Pahat (land swap with Majidee camp) and 60 units of family quarters at Slim camp in Cameron Highlands (land swap with Brinchang camp).

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