KOTA KINABALU – Sabah State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Hj Wakiman said the State Water Department Director who is being investigated by the MACC has been suspended from work.
He said the notices of suspension have been issued by the State Public Service Commission to both the Director and the Deputy Director of the State Water Department.
The director has been identified as Ag Tahir Ag Talib and his deputy is Teo Chee Kang.
“The suspension for (sic) the director and deputy director is effective as of October 5th and 4th of this year respectively, the dates when they were arrested,” he said in a statement issued Monday evening via the Press & Publication Office to the Chief Minister.
Based on records, both officers were arrested on the same day – October 4.
He said under the suspension, both the suspects were prohibited from entering the State Water Department Office or the premises of any other Water Department office in Sabah.
“The suspects are also not allowed to leave the state during this period of the investigation,” Sukarti was quoted as saying.
Earlier Monday, Moyog Assemblyman Terrence Siambun who is also Treasurer of Parti Warisan Sabah, queried the State government as to why the two officers seemingly were free to go about their duties after being released on bail.
Both Ag Tahir (Sunday) and Teo (Monday) were released on bail of RM500,000 each, with two securities, after being held by the MACC for two weeks.
Apart from the duo, three others were arrested to facilitate investigations into alleged abuse of power and money laundering linked to contracts for RM3.3bil Federal-funded projects channelled to the department since 2010.
They included Teo’s elder brother, a Datuk, and his company accountant. Both were also released on bail on Monday.
The MACC seized RM114mil worth of assets, including RM53.7mil in cash stashed in houses and office, from the two senior Sabah Water Department officials on Oct 4.
Six days later, MACC traced RM30mil stashed in foreign banks and another RM30mil in 127 land titles.
The Commission also seized nine vehicles worth RM2.7mil, jewellery worth RM3.64mil and designer handbags worth RM500,000.
On Oct 11, three Sabah Water Department employees “voluntarily” surrendered about RM1mil allegedly taken in the process of approving water projects under the RM3.3bil Federal allocations.
Last Thursday, the technical and engineering adviser to the State Finance Ministry, who was once a deputy director of the Sabah Water Department, was detained. He is still under remand.