Sir John Dalberg-Acton once said that, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Corruption is a viral problem that nearly every country faces. Malaysia is no different.
On Sunday night (4th April), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) crippled a “project tender cartel”. MACC conducted the raid after receiving intelligence that members of the group would be gathering.
They managed to arrest 7 members, including the 47-year-old chairman of the syndicate. According to MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki, the case will be investigated under Sections 17 and 18 of the MACC Act.
A source revealed that the suspects reportedly monopolised 354 tenders from several ministries and government agencies nationwide. This involved projects worth a total of RM3.8 billion. The group has supposedly been operating since 2014 and used over 150 companies to submit tenders or quotations to the ministries and agencies involved. These companies were, in fact, created by the head of the group.
“The syndicate targets facility maintenance projects and development projects,” the source stated. They also disclosed that RM5000 to RM8000 was spent to borrow the names and identities of hundreds of people in setting up their companies. The syndicate falsified documents to obtain qualification for tender bids and quotations. They would obtain information about tender bids and quotation forms by bribing “insiders” who would ensure at least one of the companies was approved.
Additionally, MACC conducted a surprise inspection on the chairman’s house on 5th April. They confiscated assets worth more than RM44.7 million and RM3.5 million in cash. Apparently, the chairman had luxury cars, yachts and helicopters worth a total of RM15.7 million. He also owned various properties like detached houses, shophouses and offices worth RM29 million.
Later that night (5th April), MACC also arrested a senior officer of a government agency believed to be involved in the “cartel”. The 38-year-old Grade 48 material surveyor was picked up at his house in Ampang. Sources revealed that he apparently prepared bills of quantity for the projects offered.
“He is believed to have accepted bribes to leak information on the specification of projects by the agency to the head of the syndicate to ease the tender document preparations,” a source stated. “Investigations found that he had received about RM300,000 bribe for each piece of information channeled to the head of the syndicate. He had received about four payments, totalling RM1.2 million.”
With MACC closing the net on the ‘cartel’ they still expect more people to be nabbed as investigations continue.