RM63mil recovered in 2016 Sabah ‘watergate’ scandal, Dewan Rakyat told

KUALA LUMPUR: RM63mil has been recovered in the 2016 Sabah Water Department scandal that involved the siphoning of RM3.3bil funds meant for projects, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“So far, asset recovery (of the Sabah water scandal) is at RM63mil and there’s an ongoing court case,” he said during the Prime Minister’s Question Time in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 14).

Anwar was responding to Lo Su Fui (PBS-Tawau), who asked about measures to address large-scale corruption cases in the country.

ALSO READ: MACC open to falling under purview of Dewan Rakyat, says chief graft buster

At the same time, Anwar said losses of RM426mil had been prevented in the Hiring Incentive Programme (PenjanaKerjaya) funds through “Ops Hire”.

Among others were measures to bust a syndicate stealing electricity for bitcoin mining, estimated to have involved losses of RM2.3mil from 2018 to 2021 through Ops Power, he added.

Anwar also said a syndicate on traffic summons discounts at the Road Transport Department (JPJ) was put out of action.

“Emphasis is placed on large-scale corruption and it will assure the people, civil servants and political leaders that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is as aggressive as decreed by the King yesterday (Feb 13),” said Anwar.

ALSO READ: Pushing for anti-corruption reforms

He also said amendments to better protect whistleblowers through the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 will be tabled at the latest by the coming Parliament session.

“Too much time and energy have been spent catching small fry and this does not help, as corruption is a systemic issue.

“Our main target is to ensure effective investigations, prevention and to restore public confidence in our efforts to fight graft,” he added.

ALSO READ: Shahelmey fields questions about ‘watergate’ graft payoff system on his first day at work

It was reported in 2016 that suspects were believed to have siphoned RM3.3bil in funds meant for water projects in Sabah since 2010 through a network of companies linked to their families.

The corruption case came to light following raids at the homes and offices of a former Sabah Water Department director and retired deputy director.

RM45mil in cash was found in the director’s house and some RM3mil at the office of the other. Jewellery, designer handbags and other possessions were also seized during the raids.

The trial will resume on Feb 22.