MACC records statements from 12 witnesses over undersea tunnel project

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng explaining the tunnel project during a press conference in his office at Komtar, George Town, January 11, 2018. — Picture by Sayuti ZainudinPenang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng explaining the tunnel project during a press conference in his office at Komtar, George Town, January 11, 2018. — Picture by Sayuti ZainudinGEORGE TOWN, Jan 11 — The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) today recorded statements from 12 witnesses as part of its investigation into the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

The MACC officers visited some government agency offices in Komtar today to record statements from some of the witnesses and also seized some documents related to the project.

MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki told the media today that the investigations team had also recorded statements from witnesses in Kuala Lumpur.

The witnesses include officers from the state finance office, stage economic planning unit, public works department, land and mines department and a managing director of a company.

He confirmed that the team also seized various documents to assist in their investigations.

When asked if Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng or the state exco in charge of the project, Lim Hock Seng, will be called in for questioning, Azam said there was no need for it at this moment.

“For now, there are no other arrests made but there is a possibility of other arrests after we have gathered new information and evidences in this investigation process,” he said.

He added that the team visited 12 locations in Penang and Kuala Lumpur today.

According to a MACC source, the investigation team took additional documents from the Penang land and mines department today.

“We need to scrutinise the documents as the project contract is suspicious while the costs of the feasibility studies for the mega project is not RM305 million as announced,” the source said.

He said there was a discrepancy between the costs of the studies and the costs of the land swap made between the state and the company appointed to conduct the studies.

“We believe that there is a possibility the state paid a sum that’s vastly different from the the actual costs of the feasibility studies,” he said.

One of the main issues the MACC is investigating is related to the land swap as stated in the contract of the project.

“We want to see how it was done and whether it was done according to procedure,” he said.

He pointed out that the Public Works Department has a set price for certain studies but when payment made for the studies is higher than its actual value, concerns of fraud could arise.

Earlier today, Guan Eng said MACC contacted his office to request for documents related to the undersea tunnel.

“I’ve told my officers to give them all the documents they need for the investigations, we have nothing to hide,” he said.

He said the MACC investigation team had also spoken to his officers and asked a few questions but did not divulge what they had asked.

“They did not request to talk to me,” he added.

On Tuesday, MACC raided seven offices including government agencies and construction companies here.

A director from a construction company and a deputy chairman from another property development company were arrested following the raid on Tuesday.

The duo, both with the title “Datuk”, were remanded yesterday until January 15 to assist in the ongoing investigation.