Brother of former Malaysian Cabinet minister Shafie Apdal remanded for five days in graft probe

Prior to his arrest, MACC officers accompanied Hamid Apdal to his house where a search was carried out for three hours. PHOTO: THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Hamid Apdal, the younger brother of former Malaysian Cabinet minister Shafie Apdal, has been remanded for five days starting Wednesday (Oct 11) as part of a graft probe into the alleged skimming of up to RM1.5 billion ((S$483 million) in federal rural projects for the poor in Sabah.

Hamid was arrested at 9.30pm on Tuesday after being questioned for 10 hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) and was brought to court on Wednesday afternoon.

Prior to his arrest, five MACC officers accompanied him to his house where a search was carried out for three hours.

The Star reported that they had taken several files but MACC officials declined to comment.

MACC prosecutor Mohd Faliq Basirudin had earlier applied for a seven-day remand, but the court reduced it to five days.

Hamid is the seventh person arrested in connection with the probe into the alleged embezzlement of funds for federal projects in Sabah through the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.

The probe centres on the implementation of projects between 2009 and 2015 by the ministry under Shafie's watch. He quit Umno and the government last year and formed the opposition Parti Warisan Sabah.

The former minister has said the probe is politically motivated but that he is ready to meet the agency's officials.

The MACC is expected to make more arrests as it sifts through about 350 water, electricity and road projects that were given to some 60 companies.

The money was allegedly siphoned from RM7.5 billion worth of project funds.

The MACC has so far frozen RM170 million in bank accounts and assets of some of the companies involved.

Hamid is the latest of Shafie's key allies, including his nephew Warisan youth chief Datuk Azis Jamman, 43, and Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony, 46, who have been arrested and are under remand.

Sources said that other family members who might have links to the projects directly or indirectly may also be called in to give their statements in the probe that is also seeing some individuals within Sabah Barisan parties dragged in.

Sabah Umno youth leaders Jamawi Jaafar, 43, who was Shafie's former political aide and Ariffin Kassim, 44, have also been arrested, while a Barisan component party senator gave his statement on Monday.

The sources did not rule out the possibility of at least two Sabah assemblymen from the east coast and another Barisan component party leader being called in to give their statements.

The probe began last week with the arrests of a 52-year-old businessman in Sabah and a civil servant with the ministry in Putrajaya on Thursday.

Two Sabah businessmen linked to the case were remanded on Friday.

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