Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Politically motivated says Labuan MP

Political agenda behind allegation, says Labuan MP
By Joniston Bangkuai and Roy Goh HERE

In what can be considered a rarity among VIPs, Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Yussof Mahal has come out to say that he may be the high-ranking Sabah politician being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency for alleged abuse of power, forgery and bribery.

Referring to a news report on the matter, Yussof said he felt he should give an explanation to "clear my good name as Labuan MP and Labuan Umno deputy chief".

Confirming that he was awarded contracts to build a RM24.8 million market and a RM10.5 million school in Labuan, he claimed that he secured the contracts through open tender and that he was the lowest bidder.

"Is it a crime for a company to secure a government contract by making the lowest bid, so much so that I am being investigated by the ACA?" he said in a statement faxed to the New Straits Times office in Kota Kinabalu.

Yussof also denied that he had cheated a Kuala Lumpur sub-contractor hired to build the Labuan market.

On the allegation of forgery to secure a bank loan, he claimed that it was mere slander and he would lodge a police report soon so that the culprits could be brought to justice.

"I believe there is a political agenda behind the allegation because it was raised at a time when the Labuan Umno division election, in which I have offered to contest the chairman's post, is just around the corner," said Yussof, adding that the threats and allegations would only serve to spur him to work harder for Umno and the Labuan people.

The ACA has refused to divulge the name of the politician being investigated for alleged abuse of power, forgery and bribery in a bid to secure three contracts worth RM40 million in Labuan.

Its director-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said the agency was still investigating the allegations and urged the people not to make any assumptions.

He said the case was being investigated by the ACA headquarters in Putrajaya and its Sabah office.

Ahmad Said was speaking after the opening of the agency's new branch office at the Federal House in Keningau Sabah Tuesday. Also present were Bingkor assemblyman Justin Guka and state ACA director Latifah Mohd Yatim.

According to a Bernama report, a 51-year-old senior politician is being investigated by the ACA for allegedly bribing officers at the Federal Territories Ministry to help his firm win contracts.

The police Commercial Crime Investigation Department and Bank Negara are also probing the politician in connection with the three contracts.

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