21
Mar
16

RM100m civil servant: Time to widen the probe

RM100m civil servant: Time to widen the probe

Rarely can a single person act alone to steal so much for so long from government’s coffers – it is time to find out if others were either negligent or acted in collusion with him.

COMMENT

I am puzzled by the report that a senior civil servant was nabbed in a RM100 million scam from which he benefitted RM20 million. Arrested with him were (said to be) contractors from companies that received payments from his ministry. It seemed the scam started way back in 2010.

So far the report has focused on the items recovered from this particular official – luxury cars, jewellery, expensive watches and handbags – which to me seem quite immaterial. Aren’t these just loot or ill-gotten gains?

To me the investigation should rightly focus on how this official was able to amass such ill-gotten gains from the ministry single-handedly and to do so undetected for so long.

Did this official have a superior who was supposed to supervise or oversee his work? Did he have subordinates who carried out his instructions or directives? Did his ministry have a finance department that prepared and authorised payments? What about the involvement of the Accountant-General’s office in issuing cheques or transferring money to recipients? Finally, what about annual auditing – how did they not discover anything was amiss since 2010?

There are rules, procedures and authorisation that must be adhered to in all government ministries and agencies. Rarely can one single person transact or effect payment without the knowledge, supporting duties and approval of a network of others.

Was this official’s boss sleeping? Were the finance department, the Accountant-General’s office and auditor blind or just plain ignorant? If indeed they were, what is there to prevent another official to repeat the same process and rob the government blind again?

Rarely can a single person act alone to steal so much for so long from the government’s coffers. To me, he must have been supported by others who were either negligent or acted in collusion with him. It is time for the authorities to widen the probe.

…more
RM100m civil servant: Time to widen the probe
By T K Chua
March 21, 2016 – FMT

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