KUALA LUMPUR (April 5): The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) crippled a "project tender cartel" with the arrest of seven individuals including its mastermind in an operation carried out last night.
According to a source with knowledge of the case, the suspects were reported to have monopolised a total of 354 tenders from several ministries and government agencies nationwide, involving projects worth a total of RM3.8 billion.
The syndicate is said to be in operation since 2014, and is also believed to have used more than 150 companies to submit tenders or quotations to the ministries and agencies involved.
“The head of the syndicate created 150 different companies by employing several individuals as directors of companies which in fact belonged to the former. The syndicate targets facility maintenance projects and development projects.
"Intelligence also found that the syndicate used the names of hundreds of individuals to open companies under its control. Each individual would be paid a monthly salary and commission as compensation for the use of their name and personal details," said the source.
It is believed that the academic credentials and professional qualifications of most of the nominees used to set up the companies were false.
The companies are also said to have used false financial statements to qualify them to submit the tender bids or quotations.
Initial investigations, according to the source, revealed that the syndicate had the cooperation of "insiders" to ensure that the companies under its control were allowed to submit the tender bids, and ensure that one of them was approved.
"The modus operandi of the cartel was to bribe these insiders to obtain information on specifications, ceiling prices, departmental prices, number of entries, company qualifications and the appropriate time to submit tender bids or quotation forms," said the source.
MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki, when contacted, confirmed the arrest.
"The case is being investigated under Sections 17 and 18 of the MACC Act, and we do not rule out the possibility that more arrests will be made in the near future," he said.