Malaysian graft-buster raids Selangor government-owned company in RM16 mil probe

Under investigation: MACC officers leaving the Jana Niaga office in Desa Pandan after the raid. Jana Niaga was responsible for maintenance work on student accommodations at the Unisel main campus in Bestari Jaya.
Under investigation: MACC officers leaving the Jana Niaga office in Desa Pandan after the raid. Jana Niaga was responsible for maintenance work on student accommodations at the Unisel main campus in Bestari Jaya.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SHAH ALAM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has carried out simultaneous raids on five locations in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur in its probe of RM16 million (S$5.1mil) allegedly paid by a Selangor government-owned company to a private firm for maintenance work.

On Tuesday (Aug 22), anti-graft officers carted away documents from the offices of state investment company Menteri Besar Selangor Incorporated (MBI), the private contractor Jana Niaga Sdn Bhd and Universiti Selangor (Unisel).

The probe centres on payments made by MBI to Jana Niaga for maintenance work of student accommodation at the Unisel main campus in Bestari Jaya.

Sources said MBI had allegedly paid Jana Niaga via two transactions of RM10mil and RM6mil in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Initial reports received by MACC showed that MBI had paid Jana Niaga even though its contract had been terminated by Unisel.

The sources added that the MACC probe focused why the payments were made even though Jana Niaga had failed to fulfil the contractual requirements for work done in Unisel in 2012.

MACC director of investigations Datuk Simi Abd Ghani said the investigating teams seized documents related to the case from the different locations.

"We're still in the early stage of our investigations and we will gather strong and sufficient evidence before we proceed," he added.

A Unisel spokesman said the university would give its fullest cooperation to the MACC investigation.

It is believed that the payments in question were made pursuant to an out-of-court settlement of a dispute between Jana Niaga and Unisel.

According to a statement issued by the Mentri Besar's office on Tuesday, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is not personally involved in the out-of-court settlement between the two parties.

"The settlement finalised between Unisel and Jana Niaga was based on proper administration and completely does not involve the Selangor mentri besar either personally or in his capacity as the arbiter of the dispute resolution," Mr Azmin's office said.

Strategic communications director in the Mentri Besar's office Yin Shao Loong said the state government would continue to cooperate with the MACC in its investigations.

The investigations stemmed from a police report lodged by the youth wing of ruling party Umno claiming Mr Azmin and his administration were responsible for the payments.

Opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat has led the Selangor state government since 2008.

A source told The Star however, that Jana Niaga was appointed as a concessionaire for Unisel when Umno politician Dr Khir Toyo was Mentri Besar, from 2000 to 2008.

Mr Azmin's office has suggested that the raids were carried out due to political pressure.

"It clearly shows that the organised raids are an attempt to smear the image of the state government which has held to their principles of transparency and accountability," it said in its statement on Tuesday.