Johor Baru mayor arrested over alleged kickbacks from building projects

Investigations showed that Adib Azhari allegedly accepted money from contractors to approve projects while he was mayor of the Iskandar Puteri City Council. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor Baru's mayor has been arrested for allegedly taking bribes from contractors as an inducement to approve projects.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director Azmi Alias confirmed that Adib Azhari Daud was arrested at the Johor MACC office at around 3pm on Tuesday (Aug 10).

Investigations showed that Adib Azhari, who is just weeks away from retirement, allegedly accepted money from contractors to approve projects while he was mayor of the Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP), overseeing Johor's urban development.

The 60-year-old was the MBIP mayor from Nov 22, 2017, to Nov 16, 2019, before he was appointed as the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) mayor on Nov 17, 2019.

Before MBIP was upgraded to a city council, he was the president of the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MBIP's previous name) from Jan 17, 2017.

Adib Azhari was taken to the Magistrate's Court in Johor Baru for a remand application at 9am on Wednesday.

A remand order was granted for three days, beginning on Wednesday.

The case is being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009.

If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the bribes, or RM10,000 (S$3,200), whichever is higher, upon conviction.

When contacted, Johor's state housing committee chairman, Mr Ayub Jamil, declined to comment on the arrest.

This is the first time in Johor that a sitting mayor has been arrested for alleged bribery.

The Malay Mail reported that Johor's MACC had arrested the owner of a construction and an Iskandar Puteri City Council engineer for allegedly submitting false documents in their dealings with MBIP last Sunday.

The two were believed to have obtained approval for construction work in MBIP's jurisdiction from 2018 to last year. The case is believed to be linked to the Johor mayor.

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