Malaysiakini News

MACC nabs suspect over RM19m payment in Penang tunnel case

Published:  |  Modified:

The MACC has arrested a businessperson who allegedly received RM19 million to help "close" the file on the Penang undersea tunnel project investigation.

It is believed that the 37-year-old suspect had received the sum from the main construction company involved in the project, after he purportedly said he could help put MACC off the case.

According to a source, the company paid the RM19 million sum in several tranches, between July and August last year.

"MACC investigated the mega project in Penang and it is possible that the suspect had convinced the company involved that he can 'close' the MACC files on the case, and get the commission to stop investigating it. 

"The RM19 million was paid in full, with the initial payment being RM2 million at the suspect's house. 

"The second payment of RM15 million was made out to a company in the same month, and the third and last payment was made in August," said the source. 

Read: Azeez dumbstruck, knows nothing of Zarul, Zenith or RM3m

The suspect was arrested at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya at 3.48pm today, and is expected to be remanded tomorrow. 

When contacted, MACC investigation department senior director Simi Abd Ghani confirmed the arrest, and said investigators are still in the process of collecting evidence to assist in the investigation. 

The RM6.3 billion project has ignited various controversies, pertaining to, among others, the high cost of its feasibility study, payment via state-owned land, as well as the project pressing on despite protests by residents.

Earlier today, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said that MACC should probe an Umno politician and a businessperson who had been paid millions for consultancy work on the undersea tunnel project by Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd. 

Ramasamy was referring to Zenith, which issued demand letters to Umno Baling MP Abdul Azeez Rahim (photo) and a businessperson for RM3 million and RM19 million respectively for consultancy work related to the tunnel.

Zenith CEO Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli declined to comment.

Abdul Azeez has since confirmed receiving the letter from Zenith, saying its contents are "totally untrue", and also denied knowing Zarul. 

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