Malaysia's anti-graft agency widens net in embezzlement case

MACC investigations director Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest which was made on Saturday, Aug 27.
MACC investigations director Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest which was made on Saturday, Aug 27. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A retired army general, who is chairman of a government-linked bank, will be called up for questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with an embezzlement case involving RM15 million (S$5 million).

The 65-year-old man will be the second banker from the same financial institution to be questioned by the graftbusters over the multi-million-ringgit book publishing contract and a project to upgrade the bank system.

The managing director, 48, of the financial institution was picked up over the case earlier with four others last Thursday (Aug 25).

It is believed the RM15 million was awarded to a publishing company to come up with a coffee-table book about a prominent political figure.

The deal was for the publisher to print about 20,000 copies but the amount produced was said to have been much lower.

A source said that several bank accounts, totalling about RM10 million, have been frozen by the MACC in connection with the case.

Another source told The Star that the commission suspected several people of collaborating to embezzle the money.

"The MACC also wants the mastermind behind this," the source said.

A spokesman for the MACC said the remand order for the five suspects, including the managing director, has been extended for two days until Tuesday.

Also, the MACC detained another man, in his 40s, on Saturday over the case.

He has been remanded until Sept 2.

The six suspects were detained under Section 23 of the MACC Act for misuse of position.

When contacted, MACC investigations director Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest which was made on Saturday.

In a separate case, the MACC froze 17 bank accounts, totalling RM5.5 million, over alleged abuse of power in a multi-million-ringgit oil pipeline project.

It also seized a double-storey house, several luxury cars including four Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and Toyotas, as well as two motorcycles.

A source said eight people, including three women, were detained last Friday.

The order for their remand expires tomorrow.

The managing director of an oil and gas company is alleged to have taken a bribe from a sub-contractor for appointing him and appro­ving a falsified invoice for the RM76 million project.