KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Peter Anthony was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission today to facilitate investigation into the purchase of an oil palm plantation, worth about RM155 million, in the Tongod district in Sabah.
Anthony and another individual, Michael Persius Ubu, were told to surrender at the MACC office by the anti-graft agency through a late-night notice on Wednesday.
The businessman-turned-politician arrived at the MACC Kota Kinabalu building, accompanied by his counsel Martin Tommy, around 10.15am and greeted Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr and a few of his supporters who were waiting there.
He was then taken straight into the MACC interview room by the MACC investigations officer.
Anthony was inside for more than three hours before emerging around 1.20pm, handcuffed.
He was then taken to an MACC car to go to his house in Taman Cantek, Kepayan, around 1.20pm, but not before he wished those present a Happy New Year.
FMT understands that the MACC wanted to collect and gather documents, believed to be related to the case, in Anthony’s house.
His counsel Tommy confirmed that Anthony would be detained for 24 hours. He said if the MACC decided to extend the detention, it would have to apply for a remand order from the court tomorrow.
The case revolves around the purchase of two parcels of land in Tongod by the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) in 2014.
The agency had entered into an agreement to purchase two parcels of 6,000 acres of land in Tongod, namely in the vicinity of Sungai Pinangah and Sungai Labau, and had deposited RM15,545,400 or 10% of the price of the land with its Sabah-based legal firm, acting as trustee.
However, Risda claimed that the seller’s lawyer informed them that their client wanted to discontinue the agreement in view of unspecified matters.
Therefore, Risda decided to terminate the agreement and requested its legal firm, which had been appointed as trustee, to return the deposit of RM15,545,400.
It is believed Anthony helped facilitate the deal.
Anthony was investigated by the police following a police report lodged by Risda in 2016, but he was cleared of any wrongdoing then.
When contacted, MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner Azam Baki confirmed the arrest adding that Anthony will be brought to the court tomorrow for a remand hearing.