Mind boggling Sabah water graft scandal

 |Oct 12, 2016
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has called on lay public not to speculate and  allow MACC to complete its investigation into the JAS water graft scandal.
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has called on lay public not to speculate and allow MACC to complete its investigation into the JAS water graft scandal.

More mind-boggling details have emerged in the ongoing probe into the alleged Sabah Water Department (JAS) RM3.3 billion water graft scandal,

Early last week, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detained four men for allegedly abusing their power an misappropriating public funds in managing JAS infrastructure projects.

The four were JAS director Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 54, his deputy Teo Chee Kong, 51, Teo’s businessman brother, 55, who is a ‘Datuk’, and his accountant, 50.

The remand order on the four was extended yesterday until next Tuesday.

The graft case was biggest catch under investigation watch till date.

Cash and in kind seized during the raids were estimated to be worth RM114.5 million.

Among seized items were eight luxury cars – Range Rover, Audi, BMW, Ford Ranger, Mercedes Benz, Mazda, Lexus and Volvo, all worth RM2.74 million, branded wrist watches and branded handbags estimated to be worth RM500,000, jewellery items valued at RM3.64 million, foreign currencies worth RM8.3 million, and seven safe deposit boxes containing cash RM3.3 million.

The amount of cash confiscated was so huge that it took about 15 hours for 30 MACC officials to count it.

MACC probe into the scandal under ‘Ops Water’ discovered that more than RM30 million had been transferred into the foreign bank accounts of JAS director and deputy director in three countries.

Initial information showed that the director had transferred about RM1 million into his accounts abroad, while the remainder by the deputy director.

An investigator said MACC had also seized 127 land titles seized from the deputy director.

Probe showed the land titles involving housing, agriculture and commercial land in several locations in Sabah, were worth about RM30 million.

Three witnesses called in to assist MACC investigation are said to have voluntarily handed over about RM1 million to the anti-graft body.

Media reports in Sabah revealed that MACC had so far hauled up 40 witnesses to assist investigation.

They included Teo’s family members and employees of several companies believed to be directly involved in JAS infrastructure projects worth billions.

The two senior government officers are suspected of monopolising projects valued at more than RM3.3 billion under the purview of their department since 2010 by giving them to relatives.

They are believed to have amassed more than RM50 million in wealth.

The scandal also led to many conspiracy theories and finger pointing, even attempts by political parties to link the duo to certain political parties and politicians, including a former federal minister.

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman urged lay public to stop speculating on the MACC’s ‘Ops Water’ graft probe into the JAS scandal.

He said the case should not be played out in the media as it could jeopardise the investigation.

He said all related parties should extend their fullest cooperation so that the investigation can be conducted in a swift manner, adding that his government focus now would be on measures to improve the procurement process and overall delivery system.

“This is an important investigation. Let the MACC do its job. Stop making endless statements and giving your opinions on what transpired,” he said in a statement.