Penang zakat probe: Woman contractor 12th suspect held

abdul-aziz-aban

GEORGE TOWN: Barely 24 hours after arresting 11 people in the suspected bribes-for-projects racket involving the Penang Zakat Centre, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has arrested yet another, this time, a 42-year-old woman contractor.

State MACC director Abd Aziz Aban said more arrests were expected.

Aziz said the woman was remanded for six days after she gave her statement at the MACC headquarters on Northam Road here last night.

Yesterday, MACC officers arrested 11 people, including four key management figures from the Penang Zakat Centre, for allegedly receiving kickbacks for projects.

Eight of the 12 people are contractors, who were alleged to have been given contracts for “community development” programmes under the zakat centre.

They are alleged to have paid “profit money” or kickbacks to a 50-year-old Datuk, who is a top official.

The MACC believes the racket has been in operation from as early as 2013.

The 11 suspects have been remanded for seven days since yesterday.

It was also revealed that the Datuk had approved yearly study loans for his child and obtained advance money, bypassing procedures to put his offspring in college.

The Penang Zakat Centre is under the purview of the Penang Islamic Council (MAINPP).

MAINPP, a statutory body of the Penang government, has since offered to work together with the MACC in the probe and promised the sternest action if any zakat official was found guilty of wrongdoing.

State executive councillor in charge of Islamic affairs Abdul Malik Abul Kassim earlier allayed fears of tithes contributors, saying the money was “untouched” by those suspected of involvement in the racket.

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