MACC nabs tech adviser to state finance ministry in Sabah water scandal

A Toyota Land Cruiser (left) and a Mercedes Benz (right) owned by the Sabah financial adviser detained in the graft probe was seized. — Picture courtesy of the MACC
A Toyota Land Cruiser (left) and a Mercedes Benz (right) owned by the Sabah financial adviser detained in the graft probe was seized. — Picture courtesy of the MACC

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KOTA KINABALU, Oct 14 — The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has made a fifth arrest in connection with the multi-billion ringgit scandal involving top officials from the Sabah Water Department (SWD).

A source in the investigations said that a former deputy director of the department who retired last year was picked up at his office yesterday, adding later that the suspect nowis currently a technical and engineering adviser to the state finance ministry.

“Early investigations found that the 62-year-old suspect has accepted money from several contractors during his tenure as the deputy director of the Sabah Water Department,” said the source who declined to be named.

The fifth suspect was the SWD deputy director for 11 years before retiring early last year.

Two luxury vehicles, a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota Land Cruiser, belonging to the suspect were also seized. No cash has been seized in relation to the fifth arrest yet.

He is being remanded for six days to facilitate investigations.

MACC deputy chief commissioner in charge of operations Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the incident but refused to elaborate.

The arrest of the financial adviser comes as investigators probe deeper into one of the biggest corruption scandals in Sabah, allegedly involving kickbacks and money laundering of funds from RM3.3 billion in federal projects.

The MACC are still detaining the four other men: the 54-year-old SWD director, his 51-year-old deputy and 55-year-old businessman “Datuk” brother and his accountant, 50.

In the MACC’s largest haul from a case involving individuals, investigators recovered goods and cash amounting to RM190 million, including RM53.7 million in cash stashed in several properties in the city, nearly 20kg in jewellery worth RM3.64 million, RM60 million in bank deposits, RM30 million worth of land grants, RM30 million in accounts abroad and nine luxury cars worth RM2.7 million.

The court remand for the director ends this Sunday, while the deputy, his brother, and the accountant will be held till Monday.

Sources say 78 people have so far been called to give their statements, and more are expected to be called.

No one has been charged to date.

*Editor’s note: In an earlier report, the source wrongly stated that the fifth suspect currently serves as the financial adviser to the Sabah government. The source has since issued a clarification.

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