12 cars, luxury watches and handbags seized in probe against Malaysian official

12 cars, luxury watches and handbags seized in probe against Malaysian official
PHOTO: Star TV screengrab

PUTRAJAYA - Luxury watches, de­­signer handbags, jewellery, art and a fleet of 12 cars - they look like they may have belonged to a millionaire.

But these items, part of a hoard belonging to a ministry official being probed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, were evidence seized in a sensational RM107mil (S$35 million) graft case.

Some of the watches and handbags, a stash worth millions of ringgit, cost up to RM400,000 each.

The 56-year-old division secretary of a government agency, who was detained, along with eight others, in the Klang Valley on Friday is believed to be the mastermind behind the misappropriation of state funds.

MACC investigations division director Datuk Azam Baki said the others detained, including a woman, were from 14 companies which received payments for ministry programmes that were never carried out.

The MACC has frozen 69 bank accounts with funds amounting to RM8.33mil and seized various properties, including houses.

"The official led a lavish lifestyle and bought branded watches, with one that cost up to RM400,000. There was also jewellery worth RM600,000, bedding material costing RM300,000 as well as paintings and dozens of handbags," he told repor­ters during a press confence at the MACC headquarters here yesterday.

"He also travelled overseas frequently, with his family flying first-class at RM80,000 each," said Azmi.

The official, he said, would direct his agency to make payments to the companies despite them never having submitted any claim.

"The official played a role in making sure that the payments were made," said Azmi, adding that the man would then receive a cut.

The official, who became division secretary eight years ago after joining the agency in 1998, was believed to have received some RM20mil in kickbacks, with MACC officers finding RM8mil in his accounts.

The man, said Azmi, also received other kickbacks, such as houses, cars, insurance and trust fund payments worth millions and supplementary credit cards, in a racket that had been active since 2010.

The case is being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

Those detained have been remanded for a week.

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