PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has crippled a “project cartel” believed to involve government projects worth RM3.8bil with the arrest of seven individuals, including its mastermind.
All seven were nabbed on Sunday (April 4) night, including the 47-year-old mastermind.
It is believed that the cartel had monopolised a total of 345 tenders involving ministries and government agencies nationwide, where the projects are said to be worth RM3.8bil.
The syndicate is said to have been operating since 2014.
Sources with knowledge of the case said the head of the cartel controlled 150 companies that were being used to submit tender bids to ministries and agencies.
"He created different companies and employed individuals as company directors but the fact is he owns the companies himself. The focus of the syndicate is on facility maintenance and development projects," said the source.It is also believed the syndicate used "insiders" who helped the mastermind's companies submit their tender bids and ensure they get approved.
"The modus operandi is that the cartel will pay to obtain information such as the project's specifications, the ceiling price and the number of participations," said the source.
On Sunday, MACC investigators carried out surveillance on the syndicate's operating centre and found that all its members were there and were occupied with filling up tender forms.
The seven were remanded for six days beginning April 5 after Magistrate Shah Wira Abdul Halim approved the MACC's application.
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed the arrests.