Sabah to review water management contracts, hopes to save RM1bil – Nation

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's water department expects to save RM1bil in payments to contractors by reviewing revised 20-year concession agreements for the management of waste water treatment plants and dams.

State Industrial Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony, whose ministry oversees the Water Floor, said that six contractors operating a total of 58 water purification plants and dams in Sabah have been identified for possible misuse of funds.

"These contractors were paid approximately RM3.7bil to manage and manage 58 wastewater treatment plants and dams over a period of 20 years, but the money was not used for that purpose", he said at a press conference here on Monday (27 August).

He said that the contractors may claim payments for works that cost RM5,000 or more.

"So even though it has paid such a huge sum, the money is not used for the management (of the wastewater treatment plants), because they still demand payments for whatever work they do (unless the RM5,000 or less costs), "said Anthony. .

He said that this was a huge waste of people's money.

"We will review these dealers and the agreements can be restructured after review," he said without elaboration.

"If our restructuring (of the agreements) goes as planned, this could result in a saving of RM1bil in 20 years", added Anthony.

He said, however, that they had to thoroughly study the terms of the contracts as they were signed by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

In the meantime, the Tenom MP has also said that it has brought this case before the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and urges them to re-open investigations into the Sabah Watergate scandal.

In the Watergate scandal, the MACC RM114mil seized assets – RM53.7mil in cash in homes and offices – from two senior Sabah Water Department officials on October 4, 2016.

The duo was investigated for alleged abuse of power and money laundering in connection with contracts for RM3.3bil in federally funded projects that have been channeled to the department since 2010.

Two others – a Datuk businessman who is a brother of one of the officers and an accountant – were also arrested.

Six days later, MACC traced RM30mil in foreign banks and another RM30mil in 127 land titles for housing, agriculture and trade.

MACC also took nine vehicles worth RM2.7mil, a range of jewelery worth RM3.64mil and design handbags worth RM500,000.

On 11 October 2016, three members of the Sabah Water Department volunteered over RM1mil, allegedly taken during the approval of water projects under the RM3.3bil federal allocations.

Four people have been accused of money laundering several times in connection with the case and are now on bail in anticipation of a lawsuit.

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