20 October 2007

ACA to act against those implicated in A-G’s report

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency is wrapping up its investigations into questionable dealings involving several senior officials highlighted in the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report recently.

The officials, believed to be from at least two ministries, were said to have bought equipment that were “overly priced”, causing the Government losses of millions of ringgit.

The ACA is believed to have questioned several officials before the Hari Raya holidays and is expected to either charge them in court or recommend serious disciplinary action.

ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan confirmed that investigations were nearing completion and that action would be taken against several people.

He declined to elaborate further.

Sources familiar with the investigations said they were centred on three aspects.

One was on whether government officers had received bribes from parties in the private sector.

“The ACA is also investigating if anyone had made false claims and also if those who had been recorded as having received money had actually received it.

“The investigation will also ascertain if the number of items supplied to the government department or agency concerned matched the numbers ordered,” the sources added.

They said the ACA task force investigating the A-G’s report were checking the background of the companies from which the goods were bought from, and those which had contracts with government bodies or projects awarded.

They will investigate if there were any abuse of power by anyone, especially in the purchase or the awarding of contracts.

The sources said the ACA wanted to know if any of the goods bought or contracts awarded concerned the decision maker’s family members, relatives or proxies.

Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, in his 2006 report, revealed a slew of cases involving public fund mismanagement such as paying RM1,146 for a set of pens costing RM160, and forking out RM5,700 for a car jack worth RM50.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan had said that civil servants found negligent in their duties or had committed irregularities would be dealt with.

He said the Government took a serious view of the offences and would not allow the actions of a few to tarnish the image of the civil service.

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