MACC picks up bank chief
PETALING JAYA: Bank Rakyat chairman Jen (ret) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Haji Zainal has been detained for questioning over a RM15mil case, the second top level person from the bank to be hauled up by the MACC.
The bank’s managing director, Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak, was detained on Thursday and has since been remanded.
MACC investigation director Datuk Azam Baki confirmed that the commission had moved in yesterday.
“I confirm the arrest. It is to facilitate the ongoing investigation,” he said, declining to elaborate further.
A source told The Star that the chairman was detained at his office in Jalan Rakyat at about 1.15pm yesterday.
“Nearly RM1mil of the suspect’s cash in his bank account has been frozen pending the probe. We went to his office to detain him,” he said.
Jen (ret) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Haji Zainal
The source added that the MACC did not rule out the possibility of freezing other assets belonging to the 65-year-old if the funds were found to be connected to any shady dealings.
“The commission will submit a request tomorrow morning (today) to remand the suspect,” the source said, adding that the graftbusters were aiming to obtain a lengthy remand.
The source said the duo were the only individuals from the bank who were being questioned by MACC over the case.
The chairman and the 48-year-old managing director were detained over a multi-million-ringgit book publishing contract and a project to upgrade the bank system.
The Star reported yesterday that a second banker was being sought by the MACC over the publishing contract and the upgrading project.
It is believed the RM15mil was given to a publishing company to come up with a coffee-table book about a prominent political figure. The deal was for the publisher to print about 20,000 copies but the number printed is said to have been much lower.
A source said that several bank accounts, totalling about RM10mil, have been frozen by the MACC in connection with the case.
Top executives: Mustafha (left) and Abdul Aziz. Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak
Another source told The Star that the MACC suspected several people of collaborating in the project.
“The MACC also wants the mastermind behind this,” the source said.
The MACC has been on crackdown against graft in high places in recent days.
On Aug 15, three government officers – one with the title “Datuk” and another “Datuk Seri” – were arrested by the MACC for graft, misuse of power and money laundering.
All three men, who were employed at a government department, a local authority and a government-linked company, were detained in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Kelantan respectively.
All accounts belonging to them – with deposits totalling more than RM13mil – were frozen.
It is not known if the cases are related.
By Nadirah H. Rodzi The Star
Bank Rakyat chairman remanded over RM15mil graft case to be held for seven days
Magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman granted the request by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for the remand to run until Sept 5.
The 65-year-old is one of three people from the financial institution to be questioned over a multimillion-ringgit book publishing contract and a project to upgrade the bank’s system.
Nearly RM1mil of Abdul Aziz’s cash in his bank account has been frozen pending the probe.
It is learnt that two others from a publishing company have also been further remanded until Friday.
However, the bank’s managing director Datuk Mustafha Abd Razak and a former procurement officer, and another two owners of the publishing company have been released by MACC as investigations against them have been completed.
In the case, RM15mil was believed to have been awarded to the publishing company to come up with a coffee-table book about a prominent political figure.
The deal was for the publisher to print about 20,000 copies but the number produced was said to have been much lower.
In another case involving the alleged abuse of power over a multimillion-ringgit oil pipeline project, six people – five contractors and an officer from an oil-and-gas company – have had their remand extended until Friday.
Two others – a contractor and another officer from the same oil-and-gas company – were released.
Magistrate Nik Isfahanie also allowed for a 27-year-old man, who is the son of a contractor implicated in the case, to be remanded for five days until Saturday.
He was detained at the MACC headquarters when he showed up to give a statement at 5pm yesterday.
MACC has frozen 17 bank accounts, with deposits totalling RM5.5mil, in connection with the case.
It also seized a double-storey house, some jewellery, several luxury cars including four Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, a Toyota, a Mercedes and a Volkswagen, as well as two motorcycles.
The managing director of the oil-and-gas company is alleged to have taken a bribe from a sub-contractor for appointing him and approving a falsified invoice for the RM76mil project.
By Martin Carvalho, Hemananthani Sivanandam, Royce Tan, Joash Ee De Silva The Star/Asia News Network
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