Tender cartel: How come LHDN was oblivious to the ringleader’s excesses?

THE leader of a cartel that monopolise Government contracts amounting to RM3.8 bil, owned two helicopters, a yacht, and over RM41 mil worth of luxury cars and properties.

This is what the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) uncovered in its ongoing investigations into the cartel, which has been active since 2014.

Free Malaysia Today previously reported that the cartel, which controlled 150 companies and monopolising Government tenders, had been crippled by the MACC following the arrest of seven people, including its ringleader.

During the probe, MACC has also frozen 644 bank accounts belonging to the suspect, a 47-year-old ‘Datuk’, estimated to be worth RM100 mil.

In addition to the slew of luxury vehicles, MACC also seized RM3.5 mil in cash, and RM29 mil worth of properties, including a bungalow, a shop lot and an office lot.

All eyes are on the Works Department (JKR), where the tender awards were purported to have been given to the cartel headed by the Datuk in the construction belonging to the suspect, a 47-year-old ‘Datuk’

So, here is the thing: Six years is a long time – How on earth has the cartel been able to operate under everyone’s noses with impunity for that long?

More importantly, why no one sounded the alarm bells for a long time? Surely, the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) would have known about this Datuk’s excesses.

According to an aviation enthusiast, each of the chopper owned by the Datuk would have cost RM 2 mil. So, why weren’t red flags raised, had LHDN indeed been aware of these luxury “toys”?

Furthermore, according to reports, MACC had recently arrested an eighth suspect, a senior official in a Government agency.

If there is an eighth suspect, it is natural to assume that there are more people from the Government involved in the case.

In essence, what this case tells us is that there is a deep rot within the Government procurement system, with corrupted parties taking projects and money away from more deserving companies.

If the country hopes to attain good governance goals and stamp out corruption within the system, there needs to be major reforms to address this problem.

Having said that, MACC, it seems, has a huge task ahead of them. For now, just act fast to bring these crooks to justice. – April 18, 2021

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