MACC ready for ‘combat’

Versatile craft: The Littoral Combat Ship is a class of small vessel operating close shore similar to the ‘USS Montgomery’ (front) as seen in this file picture. — AFP

PUTRAJAYA: Anti-graft investigators are convinced that they have enough evidence to bring about charges against several individuals involved in the multibillion-ringgit Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) scandal.

Those in the know describe the case as “complex”, but the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is confident that the charges can be pressed once the on-going investigation has been completed.

Confirming this, Tan Sri Azam Baki said a report had been submitted to the legal department to decide on the next course of action.

“We have completed investigation on some parts of the case and are proposing charges against the suspects,” the MACC chief commissioner told The Star.

“We are discussing this with our legal team,” he said, adding that if they agreed, then the charges would be made.

In the course of the investigation, MACC officers were sent abroad, including to Singapore, to gather evidence.

“We believe some transactions happened in Singapore,” said Azam.

“Money was channelled to certain individuals’ bank accounts there.”

The MACC is also pursuing criminal breach of trust violation committed by a then high-ranking official of a company that was involved in the LCS.

“We believe a substantial amount of money was transferred out without the approval of the company’s board of directors,” Azam said, without revealing the total sum involved.

However, he did say that at one point, the official transferred RM24mil without the board’s approval.

Azam said the MACC was aware that the public was waiting for the outcome of the LCS investigation.

“There are so many aspects to the investigation. To get to the bottom of things, the probe must be conducted A to Z. We needed time,” he said.

According to reports, the over RM9bil LCS project was awarded in 2014 and the order was for six of the ships to be constructed by Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS).

The ships should have been delivered in April 2019 but so far, none has been built despite the government having paid RM6bil to the company.

In November 2020, BNS’ parent company Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd (BHIC) lodged a report with the MACC on the possibility of irregularities concerning the LCS project.

Several individuals had been arrested in connection with the case, including a former top BHIC official.

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