KOTA KINABALU: Outgoing Sabah Conservator of Forests Datuk Sam Mannan is one of three senior forestry department officers questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged abuse of power and corrupt practices.
The other two are one of his deputy directors and a good assistant.
It was found that transplant researchers went to their office at the Sabah Forestry headquarters in Sandakan around 10 hours before being taken to their respective homes as part of the study.
Officials at the MACC could not, however, be reached for an immediate comment on the investigation that was initiated after a special UN task force had uncovered about 40,000 tree trunks that had been illegally logged or non-paid royalties, including other timber licensing laws.
It could not be determined whether they will be arrested for further questioning.
The graft-busters have started to move against Sabah's powerful wooden cartons because simultaneous raids were carried out at the headquarters of the Sabah Forestry Department and three logging companies.
It is clear that the research is part of an ongoing investigation into Sabah's wooden cartels with regard to the three major timber companies and deals that were undertaken during the previous Sabah Barisan Nasional State Government under the leadership of former Prime Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.
The MACC has already raided the offices of two logging companies in Sandakan and one in Tawau, and allegedly documents were seized at the raids.
The relocations come when head minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal ordered a log export ban that was aimed, among other things, at breaking up a Sabah timber cartel that has been in operation for ten years.
Shafie had said that the wood "winning, copper and seller" was all part of a group that monopolized the trade that brought few direct spin-offs to the people and the economy.
A special raid in the Task Force saw more than 40,000 tree trunks that were worth millions of taxes that were only seized by commercial forests and forest reserves in Tongod, Sandakan, Ranau and Kalabakan in operations against illegal logging between 5 and 14 July.
The new state government has restored the special commission under the department of the head ministry to oversee all activities related to logging and also to enforce and enforce laws in the context of the Forestry Enactment 1968.