KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today over a probe into the alleged misappropriation of RM1.5 billion of funds from rural development projects in Sabah.
The former federal rural and regional development minister was taken into custody at about 9pm after he had given his statement to the MACC since 5pm today, over its probe into several projects under his then ministry between 2009 and 2015.
Shafie is the 11th person to be arrested by the anti-graft agency in its ongoing investigation, with two of his younger brothers among those arrested earlier.
Shafie’s remand hearing is set for tomorrow. MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Azam Baki confirmed the arrest when contacted but declined to comment further.
Umno’s Yusof Apdal, who is Lahad Datu state assemblyman, was arrested yesterday evening with the MACC obtaining a remand order to hold him for four days to assist in its probe.
Another brother, Hamid Apdal was released on bail today after being held under remand for nine days over the same investigation. Hamid’s son-in-law was also released from remand today.
It was earlier reported that the MACC was still scrutinising some 70 projects out of an original list of 350 under the ministry of rural and regional development for suspected embezzlement.
The projects were planned to be carried out between 2009 and 2015 – when Shafie was the minister — in Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Kota Belud, Ranau, Beaufort, Keningau, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan.
The RM1.5 billion was said to be part of RM7.5 billion allocated for water, electricity and road infrastructure development projects.
Some RM170 million in bank accounts and assets of the companies involved in the projects were reported to have been frozen.
More than 45 people have been questioned since the probe began two weeks ago.
Opposition leaders claimed the investigation was politically motivated to smear the image of Warisan ahead of the 14th general election but Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and MACC denied this, saying the agency operated independently.
Shafie is the most high-profile arrest made since the MACC investigation moved into full gear earlier this month. Warisan vice-president Peter Anthony and youth wing chief Mohd Asiz Jamman were arrested previously and have since been released on bail, after being held on remand to assist in the probe.
The former Umno vice-president quit the ruling party last year after having been suspended, together with former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, over their criticism of Prime Minister Najib Razak and the 1MDB scandal.
He later formed Warisan to be a new opposition party focused on Sabah and quickly generated much support with state PKR and DAP leaders joining his party, including Penampang MP Darell Leiking and Likas state assemblyman Junz Wong.