MACC may quiz ex-senior ministers


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Reports by RAHIMY RAHIM, JAROD LIM, SITI FATIMAH,CLARISSA CHUNG and HANIS ZAINAL 

KUALA LUMPUR: Two former senior ministers may be called in to assist investigations as the national anti-graft authority widens its investigation into controversial land swap deals involving the Defence Ministry (Mindef).

Simultaneously, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will also probe the Taman Rimba Kiara project and the lorry protection racket in Penang.MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki said investigations had already started, but they would take time.

On the land swap deal case, Azam said MACC would soon be calling

up those linked to it, including Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

“Hishammuddin also lodged a separate report with us last week.

“We will look at the reports lodged by all parties and investigate any cases involving abuse of power and those within our purview,” he told reporters during the closing ceremony of an anti-corruption training for the office of Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commis­sion here.

It was reported that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had vowed to probe all those implicated, including former ministers, in Mindef’s controversial land swap deals.

The Prime Minister said legal action would be taken against any civil servant or Cabinet minister incriminated in the ministry’s report on the deals.

“We will call anybody who can help us with our investigation. This is to determine any criminal element in the case.

“Just give us time to look at the entire audit report,” Azam added.

Asked if Ahmad Zahid, who was defence minister from 2009 to 2013, was among them, Azam said: “We must see first, but I do not rule out the possibility. Any individuals who were involved, we will call them.”

He also confirmed that so far, no arrests had been made in connection with the case.

On May 18, the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investi­gating Committee (GPFIC) conducted an audit on Mindef and discovered 16 questionable land swap deals, including the Muara Tuang and Penrissen camps in Sarawak.

GPFIC said the involvement of administrators posed a risk to the government, whereby a comprehensive due diligence could not be carried out before submitting a proposal to the Cabinet for approval.

It also found that a former prime minister and a former defence minister were clearly involved in the land swap deal for the development of the Muara Tuang and Penrissen camps.

Meanwhile, on the investigation into the alleged bribery in awarding projects to supply equipment for military armoured vehicles valued at RM17mil, Azam said it was still in the initial stages.

“I expect that a number of graft cases can be brought to court before or after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“More people will be called in for these cases,” he said.

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