Navy staff undone by lavish spending

The RMN naval base in Lumut where some of the suspects were arrested.
The RMN naval base in Lumut where some of the suspects were arrested.

IPOH, March 12 — The lavish lifestyle of Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) staff suspected of corrupt practices included the purchase of luxury cars, expensive watches and multiple properties. 

The extravagance was what aroused the suspicions of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), sources said.

A source familiar with the case said the suspects’ extravagant spending led MACC investigators to believe there was something fishy.

“Some of them were suddenly able to afford expensive Swiss watches, high-end sports cars and owned more than one property,” the source said.

“It was strange because this spending was not consistent with their pay scale at the time. 

“It was also surprising they were able to suddenly spend that much in a short time.” 

He said the suspects were only middle-rank officers from the navy’s procurement department.

“This sudden splurging raised suspicion and the MACC was tipped off,” he said.

The source said the suspects may have been at it for between five and 10 years.

It is learnt that a sixth officer has been detained to aid MACC in investigations.

He is believed to be in his 40s and close to one of the five remanded yesterday. 

The source said the man would be remanded today. 

Yesterday, Malay Mail’s front page report stated five RMN staff members, including a woman officer, were being investigated for alleged corrupt practices involving naval procurement.

They were arrested in and around the RMN naval base in Lumut, while nine civilians were detained the same day.

The civilians were believed to be working for companies involved in supplying goods to the navy. All 14 were detained on Monday evening.

It was learnt the racket may have run into millions of ringgit.

The 14 suspects were remanded for seven days until Monday.

Malay Mail learned the commission moved in fast to obtain the remand order, fearing a possible destruction of key documents.

The staff will be investigated under the MACC Act 2009 for accepting bribes, while the civilians will be investigated for giving bribes.

An RMN spokesman said the navy would not launch an investigation of its own but would leave it to the MACC for the time being.

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