Ex-Sabah Water Dept director claims trial to money-laundering charges in Sabah water scandal case

The former director of the Sabah Water Department and two others are expected to be charged in connection with one of the biggest graft cases in Malaysia.
The former director of the Sabah Water Department and two others are expected to be charged in connection with one of the biggest graft cases in Malaysia.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KOTA KINABALU - Former Sabah Water Department director Awang Mohd Tahir was charged with 12 counts of money laundering involving a total of RM 56.9 million (S$18.4 million) at the Sessions Court in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday (Dec 29), The Star reported. 

The charges were related to the Sabah water scandal, one of Malaysia’s biggest graft probes, involving the siphoning of RM3.3 billion (S$1.1 billion) of federal funds for water development in Sabah.

His wife Fauziah Piut, 51, was slapped with 19 similar charges involving involving RM2.2 million, the New Straits Times said. 

Awang's former deputy and suspended Sabah finance ministry advisor Lim Lam Beng, 64, was charged with four counts of money laundering at the same court.

They were charged before Sessions Court Ummu Kalthom Abdul Samad.

All three claimed trial to the charges.

Judge Ummu Khaltom  set RM 10 million bail for Awang, 54, and RM 2 million bail for his wife.  A bail of RM 1 million was set for Lim. 

The sensational corruption case came to light after raids were made at the office and home of the 54-year-old director and his 52-year-old deputy on Oct 22.

Investigators found RM 45 million in cash in Awang's house and some RM3 million in Lim's office.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has   also arrested Lim's 55-year-old brother, a businessman.

Besides the suspension of the two top officials, 49 individuals were arrested while 15 engineers with the Sabah Water Department were implicated in the case.

The MACC believes RM3.3 billion  in funds meant for water projects in Sabah since 2010 were siphoned off through a network of companies.