Tan Sri among 5 held for alleged RM13m graft

KUALA LUMPUR: A 63-year-old businessman with a Tan Sri title, a former senior officers of the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and three current officers of the department were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today over alleged corruption involving a RM13 million government contract for the supply of geotubes for river restoration work.

Geotubes are huge sand-filled structures meant for the control of soil erosion.

The Tan Sri and the others comprising a former DID director of a special project unit; and the department's current staff — a site engineer, a district engineer and an assistant engineer, all aged between 33 and 63 were held at 10.30am by MACC investigators in simultaneous operations.

The Tan Sri and the ex-DID director were arrested at their homes in Johor and Seremban respectively while the rest were detained at the department's headquarters in Malacca.

Sources revealed that the businessman's company had allegedly submitted a claim for RM13 million to the DID for the supply 358 units of geotubes meant for dredging and excavation work in river restoration projects.

However, only 89 units worth RM4 million were supplied to the DID, causing the government coffers losses amounting to RM9 million.

It is learnt that the detained ex-DID director and the currently-serving engineers were allegedly in cahoots with the Tan Sri in pulling off the fraud.

All five suspects are expected to be produced at the Putrajaya magistrate's court tomorrow to be remanded for further investigations.

MACC deputy commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki who confirmed the arrests did not discount the possibility of more individuals who are involved in the case being arrested in the coming days.

Just last week, the MACC detained a 54-year-old businessman who is also a Tan Sri for allegedly trying to bribe the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, with RM2 million to obtain the title of Tan Sri from the federal government for a third party.

The well-known businessman is still under investigations and remains in the custody of the MACC.