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RM100m pocketed in small amounts, reveals 'nothing to hide' minister

Published
Modified 21 Mar 2016, 11:23 am

The Youth and Sports Ministry has landed in the spotlight after it was revealed that one of its senior officials allegedly masterminded misappropriation of funds amounting to RM100 million.

Feeling the brunt of the scandal is minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who has become the target of detractors.

Stating that he had "nothing to hide", the Umno Youth chief responded to several queries on the matter via Twitter, among which was how the huge sum was embezzled without being noticed.

Responding to this, Khairy said to his ministry's knowledge, the alleged misappropriation of funds had occurred in small amounts regularly over numerous years.

Kalau diam orang kata nak cover up. Better to say what I can without preempting investigation. Nothing to hide. https://t.co/xmbmyil4wZ

— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) March 21, 2016

"A process not requiring the KSU (chief secretary to the ministry) or a superior's approval was manipulated.

"There are processes (that are) out of the (youth and sports) minister's powers - like procurement and financial approvals," he said, adding that he had provided the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) with complete details of these processes.

Khairy also stressed that his first responsibility was to aid MACC in facilitating a transparent investigation, and to fix the internal processes in the ministry.

"If I keep quiet, critics will allege that there is a cover-up.

"(It is) better to disclose what I can without pre-empting (the) investigation," he tweeted.

Previously, MACC revealed that a division secretary with a government agency, whom it described as the mastermind, was among nine arrested on March 17.

They are believed to be part of a syndicate involving misappropriation of state funds.

The 56-year-old senior officer was alleged to have received kickbacks amounting to RM20 million and led a lavish lifestyle.

The syndicate, which had been operating since 2010, allegedly hosted non-existing programmes with payments made to a contractor through the division secretary.

MACC froze 69 accounts worth RM8.33 million, and seized houses, cars, clothes, jewellery.

Also confiscated were expensive watches worth up to RM400,000, Hermes handbags worth RM600,000 and RM300,00 worth of beddings.

The mastermind also frequently travelled with his family via first class tickets costing RM80,000 per person.

Khairy had mooted an independent investigative panel to identify weaknesses as well as upgrade the process and financial procedure in his ministry.