MACC undersea tunnel probe to centre on money laundering

MACC officers arriving at Komtar’s 52nd floor to visit state government offices there today.

GEORGE TOWN: The probe into the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel and connected roads project will centre around possible money laundering, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Azam Baki said today.

He expected the probe to take another two to three weeks to be completed before submission to the prosecutors.

Speaking to FMT, he said the current probe will focus on the RM305 million feasibility study and detailed design cost for the project.

Azam said the notion that the case had been “closed” earlier was not true and investigations had continued since the probe began in 2017.

“Even when Mohd Shukri Abdull was MACC chief, he said five investigation papers were open. And when I was a deputy, I never said it was closed.

“Whoever says the case was closed, that is up to them,” he said.

Shukri was MACC chief from May 2018 till May 2019.

MACC chief Azam Baki.

Recently, Penang DAP claimed the graft probe had been politicised and maintained the MACC had previously confirmed there was no wrongdoing in the case. Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in fact, showed reporters a copy of a letter from MACC, dated April last year, clearing those involved in the undersea tunnel project of any wrongdoing.

Azam said MACC had recorded statements from 32 people so far and intended to interview another 10 to 15 more. He promised the investigations will be fair.

Earlier today, MACC officers visited the offices of Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy and state executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari.

Officers did not question them but questioned their staff, a trio of security guards at Komtar’s 52nd floor and left with a work schedule of Ramasamy during an unknown period.

MACC officers are expected to interview Chow and exco members like Jagdeep Singh Deo and Phee Boon Poh next week.

It was earlier reported that a former Penang Port Commission official was arrested after giving his statement at the Penang MACC headquarters on Tuesday.

MACC previously raided three companies, with a source telling FMT that the crackdown followed the resumption of a corruption probe into the project after the discovery of fresh leads.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow holding up a letter from the MACC, dated April 2019, clearing the undersea tunnel company.

The RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three main roads project was mooted by the Penang government to alleviate the traffic on the first bridge.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect Pulau Tikus’ Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. If its feasibility study’s result is positive, construction will begin in 2023.

The “three main roads” component are roads from Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (5.7km), Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang (10.53km) and Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (4.1km).

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