BY BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU Some 19 district or divisional engineers have been arrested under Ops Air Air-Wave II as the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission cast its net wider in the ongoing Sabah Water Department graft scandal.
The arrests and seizure of money was carried out simultaneously on Wednesday at several locations by MACC teams.
The MACC investigators have seized the department’s procurement files and are going through these documents, a source told BorneoToday on Thursday.
When contacted, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki when contacted Thursday, confirmed the arrests but declined to elaborate.
Investigators will be recording the statements of those detained.
The raids were conducted simultaneously on Wednesday at 27 locations involving the Water Department offices throughout Sabah.
The MACC source said that MACC investigations were focused on the involvement of civil servants in receiving kickbacks and wrongful use of authority, and did not involve any political figure at the state or in the Federal Government.
“I am requesting all quarters not to politicise this matter and take advantage of the current investigations for their own particular interests,” Azam said.
According to him, their probe involved numerous amounts of documents and MACC officers were going through them in detail.
“We need time before we can submit their investigation papers to the Deputy Public Prosecutor.
“We view this case seriously and assure everyone that our investigations will be carried out transparently and professionally,” Azam added.
According to the MACC source, from what the investigators have unearthed so far, it is believed that the divisional or district engineers were collecting as much as 27 percent to 30 percent in kickbacks of the contract amounts for the contractors to be awarded certain projects.
Two weeks ago, the MACC pulled in the director of the department, Ag Tahir Ag Talib, and his deputy, Teo Chee Kong. Two others, Teo’s brother and his accounted were also arrested.
The MACC seized over RM115 million in cash and assets such as land titles, jewelry, expensive watches, handbags and cars.
Last week, the engineering and technical adviser at the State Ministry of Finance, was also hauled up for his alleged involvement in the scandal. The man was once a deputy director of the department.
All five have since been released on bail.
More than 80 people have been questioned in the ongoing investigations.