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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

MACC arrests 4 in Sabah graft probe

KOTA KINABALU - Another department under the Sabah Infrastructure Development Ministry has run into trouble with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), with three senior Sabah Railway Department officers, including a deputy director, arrested over the award of contracts between 2012 and 2017.

During their swoop yesterday, MACC officers also arrested the director of a company that had been awarded the railway contracts.

The two others from the Sabah Railway Department were assistant engineers.

All four men have been remanded a week for investigations.

Two years ago, both serving and retired officers of the state Water Department, also under the ministry, as well as one of their wives were hauled in by MACC for graft investigations.

In December 2016, then Water Department director Awang Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib, 54, his wife Fauziah Piut, 51, and state finance ministry adviser and retired deputy director of the department Lim Lam Beng, 62, were charged with corruption.

Awang Mohd Tahir faces 12 money laundering charges while Fauziah faces 19.

He is accused of being in possession of RM56.9 million in four bank accounts and owning six luxury vehicles.

There is also a charge of owning 86 types of branded watches.

Awang Mohd Tahir is also alleged to have been directly involved in the handing over of RM14,000 to an individual known as Cristine Fiona M Ponsoi.

The charges were framed under Sections 4(1)(a) and (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

Fauziah meanwhile is accused of possessing more than RM2.2 million in 18 bank accounts.

She is also accused of using proceeds from illegal activities to own 93 branded handbags.

Lim was slapped with four money laundering charges involving properties and cash totalling RM2.3 million.

Arrested along with them was Sabah Water Department deputy director Teo Chee Kong, who was slapped with 146 money laundering charges totalling RM146 million last December.

The latest MACC arrests saw the four men, aged between 38 and 58, brought to court here today and produced before Magistrate Cindy MC Juce Balitus.

Balitus ordered the four men to be remanded for a week until Sunday following an application by MACC which was represented by its prosecuting officer Mohd Faliq Basirudin.

The four men were unrepresented during the brief hearing.

The case is being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009 for the offering or giving of bribes.

The four men were held at their respective houses around Kota Kinabalu between noon and 11.20pm yesterday.

It is understood that MACC seized cash and vehicles apart from freezing some bank accounts in connection with the case.

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