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Youth and Sports Ministry official RM28.3m corrupt loot exposed

As published in Sunday Mail today

Money paid through NSC, says MACC 

By Haresh Deol and Anith Adilah 
mmnews@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA – The arrest of a ranking Youth and Sports Ministry official has raised questions over the manner in which funds within government bodies are being managed.

The 56-year-old suspect, a mastermind who misappropriated some RM100 million of the ministry’s funds for more than six years, was nabbed by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officials during a raid at his house in Kajang on Friday. 

The anti-graft body seized numerous items including 12 vehicles – among them an Audi, Mercedes Benz, Nissan GTR and Toyota Vellfire – 40 designer handbags, luxury bedding set, expensive watches and fine jewellery, including a Cartier pearl ring worth RM600,000. 






The seized items totalled RM20 million while his 69 bank accounts with RM8.33 million was frozen. Eight contractors, including a woman, were also picked up for their alleged involvement in the fiasco.

MACC investigations division director Datuk Azam Baki revealed the funds were channelled through the National Sports Council (NSC) and payments were made to 14 companies belonging to the contractors and RM14 million to the suspect’s personal accounts over the years.

Azam said the suspect had been misappropriating funds since 2010.


“But he could have started his activities earlier than that considering he has been with the youth and sports ministry since 1998 and has been in his current position the past eight years,” he said.


Explaining the modus operandi, Azam said the civil servant will ensure payments from NSC be channelled to the companies for jobs done or facilitating the ministry’s programmes.


“In reality, such jobs were never carried out ... in some instances such jobs did not exist but money was paid,” he said.


Malay Mail learnt one of the bogus payment was made for “decorating the minister’s office” which never took place.


He said the suspect also received kickbacks from the contractors including supplementary credit cards. 

The case was being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. All nine suspects were remanded for a week.

Those familiar of the investigation said many within were in disbelief how the suspect could have carried out his activities for years without raising any suspicion.


“He didn’t even look like he had RM100,000 in his bank account. He was simple in his dressing and kept a low profile. This (revelation) comes as a shock to many,” said an insider, who declined to be named.


“MACC officers have been visiting the ministry and NSC since January and we later found out who it was. To pull off such a stunt ... it is beyond words.”

Another source familiar with the investigation said the suspect was smooth in his operation and had abused his position and dropped names on several occasions.

“He was smart. An allocation will be provided for an event. The money will then be channelled to the organiser via a particular agency within the ministry. It is there where he will then dictate a certain sum of money should go to a shell company. He picked and chose the events,” said the source.

“If questions were raised, he would either throw names or draft a letter with the ministry’s letterhead and instruct that the money be paid to the company. The finance directors of the agencies usually give in as they will either trust the instructions are legitimate or prefer to play ball as the suspect is able to delay funds for other projects.”
The source admitted NSC will have plenty of explaining to do for releasing the payments.

“The instruction by the suspect often involved so-called programmes linked to the minister or the minister’s office. As such, some officers are afraid to ask and will just release payment,” the source said. 

“But such an excuse will not absolve those who failed to ask for complete documentation and disciplinary action could be taken against them.”

NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail declined comment, saying investigations were on-going.Some of the jewellery seized from the suspect, including a RM600,000 pearl ring.


                                            ‘Those who release payments must be hauled up’

PETALING JAYA — A former senior treasury official said civil servants who failed to practice strict regulations set by the government were to be blamed over misappropriation and abuse of funds.

Former deputy secretary-general of the Treasury Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, said civil servants tasked to overlook finances must certify allocations made by the finance ministry and follow the due process which includes the calling of a tender.

“If somebody takes it upon him or herself to issue a letter and demand that the funds be released, the accounts will naturally be audited and this will be uncovered,” he said.

“But if someone is able to misappropriate funds for more than six years without being detected, it goes to show the channelling of funds are not being monitored. Such an instance would hardly happen during my days.”

Navaratnam was asked to comment about the arrest of a ranking Youth and Sports Ministry official who had misappropriated RM100 million of the ministry’s money by channelling it to 14 companies and his personal bank accounts through the National Sports Council for dubious jobs.

He said those who released the money, despite claiming it was an instruction from a top official, were also responsible.

“That is no excuse. They are also responsible and should be hauled up. It’s like you witness a murder but do nothing to stop it or fail to report it to the police,” he said.

“If the civil servants are afraid, they can be whistleblowers.”

 Navaratnam said there must be check and balance and that ministries must uphold financial discipline.

“The government must take a serious view of this matter. They must make sure such an episode is not happening in other ministries,” he said. 

“Is this how the people’s money is being used? The people should be assured their money is being put to good use.”

Comments

  1. How to report when whistle blowers can be arrested in this country ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. How to report when whistle blowers can be arrested in this country ?

    ReplyDelete
  3. wut do u expect from them ? next he'll say it was donation like his big boss and NFA ....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now please buckle up and haul in the big fishes. I won't be surprised if BILLIONS were to be found and seized.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If those staff entrusted to pay money is not made accountable and punished ( even jailed ) for their negligence these kinds of behavoiurs will repeat until the kitty is dry.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Keep it up ... its a birthright anyway

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a donation la
    .. not rasuah

    KERMIT THE SPIDER

    ReplyDelete
  8. how can the KSU not know about this? is this the reason why he is 'promoted'??

    E

    ReplyDelete
  9. The whole ministry should be suspended...100m?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Atas bengkok bawa pun ikut sama. Donation ma...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Declare jer Derma...mesti kes akan dilupakan.

    ReplyDelete
  12. like father. like son. well done

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ini mengikut taladan pemimpin.
    Ini cuma Anjing kurap saja.
    Bila nak Tangkap Buaya yang masih maharajalela.

    ReplyDelete

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