Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bukit Aman commercial crime division quiz Samy Vellu - Malaysiakini

Federal police in Bukit Aman and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are investigating MIC's education arm, Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), an entity entrusted to construct and run the political party's Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST).

Police also earlier this week met MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu over the case.

Bukit Aman commercial crime division director Datuk Koh Hong Sun today confirmed that his department had begun investigations into the construction and maintenance of AIMST, which saw its initial cost estimate of RM230 million balloon to RM500 million at the end of the construction period early last year.

AIMST, located in Semeling, Kedah, opened its doors 18 months ago as an MIC endeavour to own and run its own university.

A brainchild of Samy Vellu, it was built from contributions by well-wishers, donations and collections from each MIC branch in the country.

"We started investigations after several police reports were lodged on the matter. We have also interviewed several MIED office-bearers and investigations are continuing," Koh told Bernama.

It is learnt that the police reports were lodged by individuals alleging financial mismanagement in AIMST's construction and maintenance.

Police sources revealed that commercial crime officers spoke to Samy Vellu for five hours at the MIC headquarters on Wednesday and that some files on MIED and AIMST were taken to facilitate investigations.

"The Bukit Aman commercial crime division director is directly monitoring investigations. This is a big case. We might also question several other MIC leaders.

"Once investigations are completed, we will talk to MACC if there is a need for further action. The MACC is also monitoring the case and if we need their assistance, we would ask them to move in... only if the need arises," a senior officer involved in investigations told Bernama.

Samy Vellu, it is also learnt, has briefed the MIC central working committee on the visit by the police to the party headquarters, at the CWC meeting on Thursday.

Asked if Samy Vellu had been questioned, Koh declined comment, saying that it was not right to divulge any information on the case as the probe was under way.

MIED, which runs AIMST through MIED Capital Sdn Bhd, has been mired in controversy after it was found that the cost of AIMST doubled from its early estimate.

Last December, Tan Sri M. Mahalingam, a signatory of MIED cheques, was removed as MIC treasurer-general by Samy Vellu, who said the move was part of an MIC rebranding exercise.

The party president had also said that there was a need to inject new blood into the party.

MIED chief executive officer P. Chitrakala Vasu, on the other hand, has been asked by Samy Vellu to go on leave since the controversy broke out.

Samy Vellu had also sent Chitrakala several show-cause letters, to which she had replied.

There have been news reports of some irregularities with regard to the awarding of the contracts, especially those involving landscaping and providing security at AIMST.

The saga took an unexpected turn last month when MIC vice-president and MIED director Datuk S. Sothinathan lodged two police reports over missing files belonging to MIED.

The reports, lodged at the Dang Wangi police station and Sentul district police headquarters, alleged that files pertaining to the AIMST contracts were missing from the party headquarters in Jalan Rahmat, off Jalan Ipoh here.

Last week, a former MIC member lodged a report at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, saying he had surrendered proof to the commission on alleged mismanagement in the awarding of construction contracts.

He had also alleged that some politicians awarded contracts to their friends without a proper tender process.

It is learnt the MACC has opened a file on the matter and investigations have already begun. However, the current batch of leaders involved in MIED and AIMST have yet to be interviewed.

Mahalingam, when contacted, revealed that officers from the Bukit Aman commercial crime division had recorded his statement on the MIED and AIMST accounts.

"Yes, I spoke to the police. It was for about four hours, a few days ago. I explained some matters that were referred to me. I can only tell them what I know," he said, adding that MACC officers had not contacted him.

It is learnt that Chitrakala is overseas and is expected to return home at the end of the month. — Bernama

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