Three more nabbed in Sabah water scandal

PETALING JAYA — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission picked up three technicians in Sabah, bringing to 22 the number of suspects detained since Tuesday, in the multi-million ringgit Sabah Water Department graft scandal.

The trio were picked up in Lahad Datu and Kota Kinabalu between 7pm and 11.45pm on Thursday. Two were produced in the Lahad Datu magistrate’s court and the other in the Kota Kinabalu magistrate’s court yesterday.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said the latest arrests were part of the second phase of the MACC operation, which has seen 90 witnesses interviewed so far in its Ops Water probe beginning on Oct 4.

On Thursday, MACC announced the arrests of 19 district and divisional heads of the department to assist in the probe over alleged kickbacks for the award of federal projects to the state.

Ops Water has seen MACC expose how state civil servants were allegedly linked to siphoning money from RM3.3 billion worth of federal projects. They had allegedly used construction and development companies belonging to proxies linked to the Sabah Water director and his deputy.

The director, Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talip, his deputy Teo Chee Kong, Teo’s brother who is a Datuk, the Datuk’s accountant, and a former deputy director of the department, were arrested and were released on bail.

The director and his deputy have been suspended from work.

In the course of investigations, 38 companies were found to be used to siphon the funds.

Investigators seized more RM190 million in cash, valuables and properties, and it was described to be the biggest corruption scandal in the state.

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