(MMO) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is probing 14 Sabah companies suspected of being involved in the siphoning of RM48 million in government funds.
It is understood that these funds were originally allocated for the rural poor in the state.
Quoting sources, The Star said that the anti-graft officers are investigating the flow of the funds over a seven year period, via an intricate web of companies.
The sum is part of the RM1.5 billion of government funds allegedly misappropriated which the MACC is also investigating.
“We have questioned Shafie’s brothers to seek their assistance on this matter,” a source was quoted saying, referring to former Rural and Regional Development minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
“The RM48 million which has been siphoned off may only be the tip of an iceberg, of how big this alleged misappropriation of funds can be,” the source was quoted saying.
Shafie was also arrested two weeks ago to facilitate investigations into claims that the RM1.5 billion was siphoned from the the ministry which he had headed from 2009 to 2015.
In the ongoing investigation, 13 people have been arrested while MACC looks into some 70 projects under the ministry.
In its report today, The Star said that the main formula for the embezzlement, involved an inflation of the project prices by 25 per cent, with the alleged embezzlers then pocketing 15 per cent (RM48 million).
It also quoted sources saying that the MACC is narrowing down on family members and political supporters of the suspects, on whether they were involved in the tender process and the awarding of selected projects to the 14 companies, believed to be appointed by a Datuk.
The report said that after the 25 per cent mark up in project prices, another suspected Datuk had taken the 15 per cent and channelled it to others.
“We believe the other 10 per cent went to one (other) Datuk who appointed the 14 companies, out of which three per cent was divided between the companies as a service fee,” sources reportedly told the daily.
The Star said that MACC is now investigating if the 14 companies were used only as a front to receive the RM48 million, while the projects were unofficially sub-contracted “to a well-connected businessman, who has direct links to the politician”.
Sources reportedly told the daily that most of the dealings were done via cold cash transactions to avoid authorities sniffing the money trail.