The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Sarawak Branch has uncovered a syndicate, comprising high-ranking government officials and a company director, responsible for siphoning federal funds amounting to millions of ringgit.

Sarawak MACC Director, Samsiah Abu Bakar

Sarawak MACC Director, Samsiah Abu Bakar

State MACC Director Samsiah Abu Bakar said that, so far, MACC had detained seven individuals, comprising government servants, contractors and middlemen who had been linked to the syndicate, under Section 18 of the MACC Act, 2009.

She said the suspects, who operated as a group, had been active in Kuching and the ‘mole’ had access to a list of Federal projects. However, Samsiah said all the suspects had been released on bail pending completion of investigations before being charged in court.

She said the syndicate, which had a strong network in other districts, had also fabricated claims for a housing project in Santubong.

“Our investigation revealed that the syndicate is also active in other districts such as Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri, Limbang, Sarikei and Kapit,” Samsiah told the media at her office here yesterday.

She revealed that MACC would pick up more suspects linked to the syndicate soon, including those involved in ‘Ali Baba’ businesses.

The seven suspects had been linked to the misappropriation of project funds for mosques, suraus, football fields, community halls and clinics.

Samsiah revealed that since 2005, MACC Sarawak had received 637 complaints related to false claims, and 295 complaints have been investigated, with 22 cases brought to court.

She added that MACC would investigate the syndicate’s link with other districts soon to prevent it from misappropriating more funds. She appealed to Bumiputera contractors whose names had been misused by certain people to come forward and report to MACC.

Commenting on a report by a national daily, she said it was inaccurate as her findings involved only four cases from 2002 to 2005, and not all State and Federal projects.

On her findings for the four cases, only 40% of the allocated funds reached the target group while remaining 60% were diverted elsewhere.

Samsiah said she welcomed the State government’s initiative to set up its own internal audit to check and monitor project implementation. –Eastern Times