Defence Ministry 1st to be probed under special committee

The committee will refer to enforcement agencies accordingly, says chairman

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by TMR file

The special investigation committee on procurement, governance and finance has begun probe on several projects under the Defence Ministry, upon requests by its Minister Mohamad Sabu.

“We have a list of cases (in the ministry), but we need to discuss and prioritise which one we should cover first as we have limited resources,” chairman Tan Sri Ambrin Buang (picture) said after chairing the committee’s inaugural meeting.

“It (investigation) starts today,” Ambrin said yesterday without elaborating further.

Last month, Mohamad had pledged cooperation to the committee to allow for proper investigations to be conducted on several allegations against the ministry.

Among them are the allegations made by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz who claimed that 40,000ha of military land has been privatised without an open tender.

According to Mohamad, other issues raised to his ministry are the purchase of Scorpene submarines and the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Meanwhile, Ambrin said the committee will refer to enforcement agencies accordingly before submitting the investigation report to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

However, he said there will be no timeframe given to finalise each report as it depends on the ability of the committee in finalising its investigation and analysis on each case.

“We will look into the suspicious cases. If there is none at the ministry, we would not go into it,” Ambrin said.

The Cabinet had agreed to the establishment of the committee, aimed to probe issues related to discrepancies involving assets procurements, power abuse and leakages in the government.

“We will also be looking at the improvement side — what are the pre-emptive measures taken by the ministries and if it is sufficient,” he explained.

Ambrin also said the committee’s functions will not overlap with the National Audit Department (NAD) as the latter has a different mandate, routine and timeframe.

In comparison, Ambrin said the special committee will conduct a thorough probe into special cases either required by the ministries or any gathered information.

“The department will resume as it is. We are not disturbing their scope of work,” he said.

Among the five members appointed to the committee are former Malaysian Institute of Accountants president Tan Sri Dr Abdul Samad Alias and former Rural and Regional Development Ministry secretary general Datuk Dr Mohd Tap Salleh, who is also the former president of Integrity Institute of Malaysia.

National Integrity and Good Governance Department DG Datuk Dr Anis Yusal Yusoff, former NAD director Datin Paduka Ong Swee Leng, and advocate and solicitor Dr Zulqarnain Lukman are also included in the line-up.

The Finance Ministry will lead the secretariat of this committee.