Freeze accounts, impose travel ban on Mindef land scandal culprits, says Patriot

Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji.

PETALING JAYA: A group of veterans and retired police officers today urged the authorities to take immediate action against those involved in the defence ministry’s land swap project, following the release of an audit report showing that hundreds of millions were lost due to political interference in projects involving government land.

The National Patriots Organisation (Patriot) said Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu’s statement on the issue yesterday left many questions unanswered, including the identity of the politicians involved and whether the military top brass were involved as well.

“Patriot urges the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to immediately swing into action,” its president Mohamed Arshad Raji said in a statement.

“Bank accounts of suspected persons should be frozen, and they should be barred from leaving the country.

“If military top brass were involved, even if they have retired, action should be taken against them.”

The issue came to light in April last year, a month before the 14th general election.

It was alleged that over tens of thousands of hectares of army land had been transferred to a private company without going through open tender.

However, the defence ministry denied that the entire federal land utilised by it had been transferred to a company owned by three individuals.

It added that each development project was implemented by a different company and had nothing to do with one another.

It also said the swapping of ministry land was done after obtaining the approval of “end users” such as the army, the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Yesterday, Mohamad said the final audit report into the alleged malpractices had found political interference and absence of due diligence in 16 projects which caused the government to lose some RM500 million.

Among others, the committee found there were 16 projects through land swapping of some 2,923 acres of ministry land worth RM4.756 billion, with a total project cost of RM4.886 billion.

Mohamad said his ministry would be lodging reports with the police and MACC for further action.