Funds for community project given to NGO linked to ex-minister, says report

The A-G’s report says RM15.55 million was approved for the Socio Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit for a ‘touch point’ project and a pre-school project. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Auditor-General (A-G) said government funds for the Socio Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (Sedic) were channelled into an NGO allegedly linked to a then minister.

A-G Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid said in his audit report that RM15.55 million was approved between 2016 and 2017 for a “touch point” project and a pre-school project.

“From the RM15.55 million, RM6.73 million was channelled to seven NGOs.

“This particular NGO (one of the seven) sought funds to conduct a programme, namely the Community Transformation Programme, in different locations. The project was aimed at improving the quality of living and education for poor Indians,” he said.

Nik Azman said that in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) dated May 3, 2018 between the NGO and the government, the NGO was supposed to submit its report on the project’s progress by July 2018.

However, it had not conducted the programme and Sedic had also not monitored its progress.

“The NGO’s leader was a special officer to a minister,” Nik Azman said without naming the minister or the NGO.

He said the NGO had paid RM500,000 to a printing company and another group to conduct the programme.

It was not stated in the MoU if the programme would be carried out by another group, he said.

Nik Azman said checks showed that RM51,100 was paid to conduct an “impact study” on Sedic’s programmes between March 6 and 12 but the audit department could not find particulars on the said study.

“In our view, we find weaknesses on Sedic’s part to monitor the programmes and making sure public funds were properly managed,” he said.

The report noted that files on funds amounting to RM10.8 million for 23 programmes in 2014 were not submitted to the National Audit Department. In 2017, a total of RM18.9 million was provided to 49 NGOs which had failed to meet the approval criteria, Bernama reported.

SEDIC had displayed poor administration and monitoring development programmes for the Indian community, the report said. Although the unit had received almost RM204 million for 2014-2018, programmes had not been run efficiently because of incomplete records which in turn, could not be used to evaluate the outcomes of the initiatives