KOTA KINABALU, Oct 7 — Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said today he is “sad” that two of his top officers were implicated in the one of the country’s largest ever corruption busts.
Pairin who is also state infrastructure development minister said he had learnt from newspaper reports that the duo held by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in the high-profile RM3.3 billion graft investigation are from the Sabah Water Department.
“It is sad to read in the newspapers and to know that two of my top officers have been taken in by the MACC for questioning recently,” he said in a statement.
He added that he has yet to receive any official report on their arrests.
“My permanent secretary and also the state secretary have advised me to wait for an official report or await for future developments to take place before certain procedures will have to be activated.
“In the meantime, we can be comforted by the law which states that a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise,” he added.
Pairin also said he hoped the two officers can explain themselves “properly” to the MACC so they can return to work peacefully after the investigations end.
The MACC recently arrested two senior officials of an unnamed state agency for alleged corruption.
The national graft fighters have since held a news conference here where they announced and displayed a whopping haul of RM114 million worth in cash, jewellery, land grants and branded goods that they said had been seized from the duo’s properties, bank accounts and safety deposit boxes held by them and their family from around the state capital city.
The total wealth amassed is expected to grow as the MACC enlist professional pawnbrokers to evaluate the value of the items seized later today.
Four people are currently under remand pending the completion of investigations, upon which they may be charged. They are the state department director, 54, his 51-year-old deputy and 55-year-old businessman brother who carries the “Datuk” title, and his accountant, 50.