Mitra issue: Company director, association president among 22 detained by MACC

PUTRAJAYA: A company director and an association president were among 22 individuals detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in operations carried out in seven states yesterday to assist in the investigations into the misappropriation of funds from the Malaysian Indian Community Transformation Unit (Mitra).

According to MACC sources, the 22, who also comprised the secretaries of associations and organisations, were arrested in operations carried out in Perak, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.

Six of the individuals arrested on Thursday (Jan 20) have been remanded for four to six days from today after the MACC made an application at the Magistrate’s Courts in Selangor, Kedah and Putrajaya, while the rest were released on MACC bail.

The sources added 337 companies, associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had earlier been identified to have been approved grant allocations by MITRA from 2019 to 2021, with an allocation of about RM203mil.

According to the sources, the focus of MACC’s investigation in the initial phase would be on on 27 companies, associations and NGOs which had received allocations of between RM1mil and RM9mil.

In October 2021, the MACC arrested 18 individuals involving 10 companies, organisations and NGOs to assist in investigations into the misappropriation of funds.

The sources said that under the operation called Mitra 2.0, it would focus on 17 companies and organisations that had received allocations of between RM1mil and RM9mil.

According to the sources, the MACC had also collaborated with the National Unity Ministry to form a special internal investigation team to focus on companies that received allocations of less than RM1mil.

“The focus of this internal investigation will be to scrutinise all forms of applications, expenditure reports and programmes that are said to have been implemented by the recipients of Mitra allocation grants from 2019 to 2021,” the sources said.

In October last year, Klang MP Charles Santiago had asked National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique to explain where funds amounting to RM9.1mil from Mitra were spent

On Oct 9 last year, Halimah was reported to have said that the National Unity Ministry was ready to give full cooperation to the MACC on the issue that had gone viral related to Mitra’s financial grant. – Bernama