Malaysia civil servant 'mastermind of $34m graft scheme'

MACC officers displaying to the media some of the jewellery, luxury watches and brand-name handbags seized from the nine suspects.
MACC officers displaying to the media some of the jewellery, luxury watches and brand-name handbags seized from the nine suspects.PHOTO: THE STAR ONLINE

Suspect arrested with eight others; luxury cars, jewellery and designer goods seized

PUTRAJAYA • A mid-ranking civil servant in Malaysia who has been arrested for corruption was described as the mastermind of a scheme that siphoned RM100 million (S$34 million) in state funds from 2010.

Officers from the anti-corruption commission detained the 56-year-old suspect, a division secretary at an unnamed ministry, along with eight others who were contractors from 14 companies.

The firms were paid money from government coffers for programmes and projects that were never carried out, and gave kickbacks of RM20 million to the division secretary, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said.

The authorities seized 12 luxury cars, jewellery, luxury watches and brand-name handbags and froze 69 bank accounts with total deposits of RM8.33 million.

MACC investigations division director Azam Baki said the mastermind was believed to have received some RM20 million in kickbacks in the last five years.

"So far, our investigations show that they have been operating since 2010, but we won't rule out the possibility they have been active even before that," he told a news conference at the MACC headquarters yesterday. He did not mention the name of the government ministry involved.

Datuk Azam said the division secretary also received other kickbacks from the contractors including houses, luxury cars, insurance and trust fund payments worth millions of ringgit, as well as supplementary credit cards.

He said the person - it was not made clear whether the person was a man or woman - led a lavish lifestyle and bought luxury items such as watches and brand-name handbags worth up to RM400,000 each.

The suspects are being remanded for a week to help in investigations.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 20, 2016, with the headline 'Malaysia civil servant 'mastermind of $34m graft scheme''. Print Edition | Subscribe