Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two Perak exco members among six arrested for graft and sexual bribery - Sun

IPOH (Aug 20, 2008) By Humayun Kabir

Two Perak state executive councillors and a former state assemblyman from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) were among six people arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) over the past two days for alleged graft in connection with the approval of a RM180 million housing project.

Perak ACA director Samsiah Abu Bakar who said the case involves more than RM100,000 bribe for approving the housing project, added that the suspects were "also believed to be involved in sexual bribery."

Five of them, aged between 30 years and 57 years were picked up yesterday between 6am and 9.15pm, while the sixth was arrested when he reported to the state ACA office here with his lawyer about 10.30am today.

Samsiah said three of the suspects including an Exco member were detained by ACA immediately after receiving a bribe of more than RM100,000 as a gratication to expedite the application process of the housing project in Seri Iskandar, Perak.

ACA sources said the five men arrested yesterday were a 57-year-old state executive councillor, a 56-year-old former state assemblyman, a 45 year-old Perak Tengah district councillor, a 30 year-old businessman and a 46 year-old technician from the State Economic Development Corporation.

The five suspects were produced at about 11 am today before Magistrate Noor Aini Yusof who upon an application by ACA prosecuting officer Hamzah Mohd Aris, issued remand orders for them to be detained for three days to assist investigations.

The sixth suspect, a state executive councillor who was arested today, will for now be held for 24 hours, to assist ACA in their investigations into the case.

Pressmen wholearnt of the corruption case involving several politicians staked out the courthouse from 8.30am despite being told by court officials that they were unaware of such a case.

At about 9.30am, a state exco councillor arrived at the courthouse with lawyer Asri Othman.

Asked why they were in court, Asri said "We do not know, but we were told to report to court at 9am today."

They then left the court complex saying they were going to the state ACA office to find out what was the matter was all about.

At about 11am five cars drove into the complex and five men who were handcuffed emerged with their faces covered and escorted into the court by ACA officers while press photographers scrambled to get their photos.

They were led to a courtroom on the first floor where the media was locked out until they emerged much later.

Meanwhile, Perak Menteri BesarDatuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the arrest of the two state executive councillors would not affect the administration of the state.

"At the moment they have only been remanded. If there is a charge on any of the exco members, we'll leave it to the court to decide so that the law will take its natural course.

"This is only an investigation. They are only being questioned and are giving their statements...everyone is innocent until proven guilty so we will let the court decide if they should be charged," he said after attending the presentation of Sukan Malaysia XII incentives here.

Mohammad Nizar said all the state executive councillors were prepared to cooperate in any investigation by the ACA.

Pakatan Rakyat (People's Front) holds 31 seats in the Perak state assembly -- 18 by DAP, PKR (seven) and PAS (six). The Barisan Nasional (BN) has 28 seats.

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