District officer nabbed in MACC crackdown on project cartel syndicate crackdown

KUALA LUMPUR: Graft-busters have detained another district officer and a quantity surveyor in connection with investigations into a project cartel syndicate believed to be linked to projects worth millions of ringgit in four districts in Selangor.

Sources said the duo were detained at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Putrajaya on Friday (July 23) night after their statements were recorded.

Both suspects have been remanded for five days after Magistrate Shah Wira Abdul Halim granted the remand application at the Putrajaya Magistrate's Court on Saturday (July 24).

The duo are allegedly linked to a contractor's company that is part of the cartel, which is said to have been active since 2012.

"In the space of four years in a district, the contracts obtained various projects worth about RM20mil. Investigators believe about 70 companies were used to obtain the projects, including 16 companies owned by families while the remaining were owned by cronies and proxies," sources said

The sources added on Saturday (July 24) that the district officer is believed to have received RM125,000 worth of bribes in the form of cash, house renovations, deposit payments for car purchases and medical expenses.

"The bribes were in exchange for helping companies owned by the contractors involved to obtain various tenders, including for cleaning and maintenance works in Selangor worth about RM3mil," the sources said.

Meanwhile, the quantity surveyor was suspected of receiving 1% of the project cost as well as RM90,000 cash and a bicycle worth RM3,000.

"The suspect is believed to have leaked information on the tenders for cleaning and maintenance work in another district in Selangor to the contractor," sources added.

It was reported that two district officers who had also held the posts of municipal council presidents (YDPs) in Selangor, were detained by the MACC for allegedly receiving bribes from a project contractor and housing developer.

Also detained was a contractor, on suspicion of bribing the two men in order to monopolise the projects at the municipalities headed by the two YDPs.

According to MACC sources, the former YDPs and the contractor were detained at the MACC headquarters on Thursday (July 22), when they turned up to give their statements after several raids were also made in Selangor on Friday linked to the case.

They have been remanded for six days.

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