Azam Baki: 'Project cartel' only exposed recently as whistleblowers feared for safety

PETALING JAYA: The cartel monopolising the bulk of government contracts had not been exposed until recently as the whistleblowers feared for their safety, says the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki (pic) said the investigation was challenging as the issue was “external and internal", reported the Malay Mail.

"This is what I said, and as the chief commissioner, it made me doubt. Why? When I was interviewed recently, I said it is impossible; to me it is not logical that everyone does not know about this. If it’s just one or two people, it is okay," said Azam.

He had said, when interviewed on TVAlhijrah’s Analisis programme, that it was impossible that senior officers or department heads did not know about the goings-on.

Azam said the cartel may have been active before 2014, and that several officers have been complaining to their department heads “for (a) long (time)”.

“But I understand that when they complain too much, they fear that action or retaliation from those concerned parties will happen against them," said Azam.

"So they are mostly silent, and when they are silent, this is when we do not know much, ” he added.

Several individuals, including the syndicate's boss, were recently remanded by the MACC in their investigations into the cartel.

The "project cartel" is believed to have been awarded 345 tenders with an estimated value of RM3.6bil from different ministries and agencies nationwide since 2014.

Azam also claimed that there has been no political interference in his agency since he took office.

He said some politicians “enquired” about investigations but not with the intention to interrupt or influence the outcome of the probe.

“I regularly mix with ministers or other politicians. They ask, but I say that those are merely enquiries and will not influence our decisions when carrying out investigations.

"We will investigate the cases, and it is up to the Attorney-General whether to charge them or not, ” he said.

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