Malaysia to charge ex-top official of contractor firm linked to combat ship scandal

A total of RM6 billion (S$1.86 billion) was paid to contractors to build six littoral combat ships, but none of them was delivered. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A former high-ranking official of contractor firm Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) will be charged on Tuesday (Aug 16) with criminal breach of trust in connection with the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal on Tuesday (Aug 16).

The individual will be brought to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court at around 9am to face the charges, sources with knowledge of the case said.

"Yes, we are charging a certain individual tomorrow (Tuesday)," a source told The Star on Monday (Aug 15).

BNS was the main contractor for the project, and is controlled by the Malaysian Armed Forces pension fund called LTAT.

In July, The Star reported that anti-graft investigators were convinced they had enough evidence to bring charges against several individuals involved in the RM9 billion (S$2.8 billion) LCS project.

The six combat ships commissioned in 2011 by the Royal Malaysian Navy were to be used to patrol the country's shoreline. But none was delivered although the government had paid out RM6 billion to the contractors.

The first ship was supposed to be delivered in 2019, and the sixth in 2023.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to expedite investigations into the LCS case, and should there be solid proof, the Attorney-General is to prosecute and bring those responsible to court.

The Cabinet, in its weekly meeting last week, also decided that two high-level investigative reports - including one by the governance, procurement and finance investigation committee - would be made public.

The other is a forensic audit report on the project conducted in 2019, which will be declassified.

On Aug 4, the bipartisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which reports to the Malaysian Parliament, said some RM1.4 billion in government allocation for the LCS project had been used for other purposes.

The two-year probe by PAC also revealed that the project was awarded to BNS through direct negotiations and was inked in 2014, with no tender being called.

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