AES takeover was indirect bailout, says PAC

THE government spent RM668.9mil to fund Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera’s (LTAT) takeover of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) project in 2014.

This finding, according to Parliament’s bipartisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC), was based on scrutiny of the issue raised in the Auditor-General’s Report.

“The order by the government in 2014 for LTAT to take over the AES from Beta Tegap (the company to which the project was outsourced), is indirectly a bailout by the government.

“The takeover cost by LTAT totalled RM555mil and was over valued,” said PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh in a statement yesterday.

He said the takeover valuation did not follow the due diligence conducted by auditors KPMG, which put the maximum takeover valuation at only RM251mil.

Wong noted that the value did not include other fees and the government ended up paying LTAT a total of RM668.9mil in compensation.

The AES’ five-year concession was awarded to ATES Sdn Bhd and Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd in December 2011 to set up a network of cameras to monitor federal roads, highways and expressways in the country.

He said PAC was recommending the government declassify a report by the government’s internal investigation committee on the issue.

The committee, which was chaired by former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, completed its findings in January 2019, he added.

“We were informed that the report was not submitted and has been under confidential status since.

“The government must make it public by declassifying it,” he said.

Wong said the PAC was also recommending the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to look again into the takeover to determine if any “kickbacks” were given to any individuals.

Besides Ambrin, also called up to testify before the PAC were Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak and Beta Tegap director Zairuddy Zainal.

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