PUTRAJAYA, March 21 — Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today blamed procedural weaknesses for the RM100 million corruption case involving a senior ministry official, saying no higher-level approvals were required for government payments.
Khairy accused the officer, who was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) last Friday on suspicion of misappropriating RM100 million over the past six years, of abusing the system.
“For [a] few years, the suspect abused procedures which does not need higher approvals and this is the weakness which we have identified,” Khairy told a press conference here.
“No, no. I was not aware...as how I said before, the suspect abused the procedure that does not need higher approvals, meaning either the minister or the ministry’s chief secretary,” he added.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested the 56-year-old ministry official last Friday on suspicion that he had embezzled some RM100 million over the past six years.
The authority also seized assets from the suspect worth about RM20 million, including 12 vehicles, designer handbags and fine jewellery, besides freezing 69 bank accounts containing RM8.3 million.
Malay Mail reported earlier today that the MACC is also expected to interview more people in the case.
The anti-graft body reportedly said the money was channeled to contractors’ companies and to the suspect’s bank accounts through the National Sports Council (NSC).
When asked today if he would look into suspending the NSC management, Khairy said this would depend on the investigation and that those not under MACC’s probe list can continue working.
He said that the funds mainly came from the ministry’s coffers and not from any development allocation or funding set aside for the ministry’s programmes.
“This case relates to allocations not linked to any development projects for now. So all development projects, those projects not related to the funds concerned in this case, will go on as planned,” he added.
Khairy also announced that as its immediate response to the case, his ministry has requested for the formation of a special taskforce to look into loopholes in the ministry’s internal mechanisms and fund channeling management.
“For this, I have already discussed with the Chief Secretary to the Government with regards to forming an independent investigation body.
“The main objectives of this team is to amend weak internal processes which can potentially lead to misuse of public funds,” he said.
Khairy said that the special taskforce will not include any representative from the ministry, adding that this is to ensure that all investigations are bipartisan and transparent.