PAC begins looking into wrongdoing related to contracts for VEP system

20 Feb 2019 / 17:08 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has begun investigations into allegations of wrongdoing in the awarding of contracts for the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system, between Johor and Singapore in 2015.

The project to implement the system was awarded to contractors that had no experience in the field.

The investigations are in response to questions raised in the Auditor-General’s Report 2017 Series 2, on how the project came to be awarded through direct negotiations rather than through an open tender.

Current Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman appeared as the first witness today.

When met at the Parliament building, PAC chairman Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee told reporters that more witnesses would be called to testify.

Among them is former transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, whom he said was “most likely” to be called.

“We have to give a 14-day notice to potential witnesses but the notice (to Liow) has not been sent out yet. We need to fix a date first,” Kiandee added.

He said neither had any decision been made on whether or not to call former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

On Dec 3, Najib was reported to have said that Liow had given an assurance that the contractors were capable and had the necessary expertise.

The contract for the project had been divided into two parts — the capital expenditure (capex) worth RM45.15 million and the operational expenditure (opex) worth RM104.3 million.

However, the contractors were found to have only RM35.54 in their accounts when they were supposed to have RM2.3 million.

It has also been reported that the contractors had produced written evidence that they had RM3 million in their accounts and had given an understanding that they would bear the cost of the project until the system was operational.

However, they were later found to have sub-contracted out the project to a third party.

Equipment worth RM4.07 million such as barrier gates, cameras and fixed readers were also left uninstalled.

The audit report concluded that there were weaknesses in the selection of contractors and that had an impact on the effectiveness of the collection system.

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