Datuk arrested in affordable housing scam

KUALA LUMPUR: A 52-year-old man with a "Datuk" title was arrested for his alleged involvement in an affordable housing scam, which resulted in losses amounting to RM13.6 million.

Bukit Aman commercial crime investigation department (CCID) director Commissioner Datuk Seri Amar Singh said the suspect was detained on Feb 7 following 16 police reports received between 2014 and 2017.

"Two cooperatives based in Subang Jaya are believed to be involved in the scam. The suspect is a chief executive officer of one cooperative and chairman of the other," he said in a statement today.

Amar said the modus operandi of the suspect was to offer contracts to contractors to build affordable homes nationwide.

"The Datuk will bring victims (contractors from various companies) to actual project sites and even show them the necessary documents to convince the contractors that the projects are genuine and approved by the relevant authorities.

"Those cheated (contractors), end up paying a performance bond of between RM300,000 and RM2.3 million to both cooperatives," added Amar.

Upon payment, the victims would sign a joint venture agreement with the cooperatives promising that the projects wiould be initiated within 18 months.

However, after 18 months, the victims never received any instructions to begin the construction work and further checks revealed that the projects promised did not exist and were never given to either cooperative.

Amar added that the suspect had claimed that he had been appointed by both cooperatives as an agent to hire contractors for the projects.

"For the first cooperative, the Datuk offered construction contracts for the projects in Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak and Johor while through the second cooperative, he offered contracts in Malacca, Kedah and Perak.

"A total of 11 investigation papers were initiated, following which the Datuk was picked up in Subang Jaya and is still under a remand order. The CCID team are not ruling out the possibility of making more arrests in connection with the case," he said.

The case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.