(The Star) – An ongoing anti-graft investigation has uncovered evidence that a massive RM71mil was spent to reward political grassroots leaders instead of being used to help the rural poor.
Earlier, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) uncovered RM48mil in government funds that was moved across an intricate web of companies for the alleged benefit of an influential politician and his followers.
Central to the investigations into the RM71mil are two grassroots leaders who were said to have profited from the contracts and a former high ranking official of a ministry who was the coordinator, said sources.
The two local leaders in Sabah would first identify government projects that they could apply for.
They would then gather a list of crony companies and help to lobby for these projects and receive a “commission” for it.
The high-ranking official was the go-to person to find out what projects were available and “advise” the local leaders on how to be successful in their tenders.
It is believed the official did not receive any monetary kickbacks but was instead rewarded with “tokens” from the contractors.
The official even flaunted a luxurious lifestyle on social media accounts, which are now deactivated.
The high-ranking official has since been transferred to another ministry based in Putrajaya.
“The two leaders would make sure the contractors get the licences. They were responsible for the projects from the start until their completion.
“The awarding of the projects was done in two ways. The two would either submit proposals to lobby for the projects, or the jobs would be given to them directly,” said the sources.
The sources added that the RM48mil moved by the companies and the RM71mil discovered now hardly made up 10% of the RM1.5bil being investigated by MACC.
The sources also told The Star that out of the RM71mil, one of the two grassroots leaders received projects worth RM58mil after he complained about insufficient funds to carry out political programmes.
This leader, with the help of another local political leader, managed to gain access to the influential politician and the high-ranking official, and was eventually given a list of available projects.
The second grassroots leader was said to have direct links to the influential politician.
He obtained projects worth RM13mil. He is believed to have obtained a hefty commission after giving out the projects to his friends.
The sources also said that the MACC was looking into more money trails in the alleged skimming of RM1.5bil.
“The findings shows that this influential politician was actually manipulating the projects and inflating the costs.
“With this kind of funding, he managed to strengthen his political footing and garnered much support,” the sources added.