MACC probes all Mitra grant recipients since 2019

MACC probes all Mitra grant recipients since 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is reviewing all applications, expenditure reports and programmes said to have been implemented by recipients of the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) allocations from 2019 to 2021.

This is following the arrest of several company directors over the past few days on suspicion of being involved in the misappropriation of Mitra funds.

According to a source, a total of 337 companies, associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were identified to have been approved grant allocations by Mitra from 2019 to 2021, with an allocation of about RM203 million.

“The highest allocation approved by Mitra was in 2019 for over RM90 million. The allocation was approved to about 205 companies, associations and NGOs and, of the amount, eight companies obtained grant allocations of over RM1 million,” added the source.

On Tuesday (Oct 26), the MACC announced the detention of 16 company directors suspected of being involved in the misappropriation of Mitra funds.

All the suspects were nabbed in a massive operation around the Klang Valley since Monday, with an estimated tens of millions of ringgit having been misused by the group who originally applied for Mitra grants to organise socioeconomic programmes for the Indian community.

According to the source, the MACC team of investigators faced constraints investigating nearly all the 337 programmes which had received the allocations, so an approach has been taken to focus on allocations of more than RM1 million for the time being.

“The MACC investigation is in phase two, with phase one focusing on about 27 companies, associations and NGOs which had received between RM1 million and RM9 million.

“For phase two, the MACC will cooperate with the National Unity Ministry to form a special internal investigation team to focus on the almost 310 companies that received allocations of less than RM1 million,” said the source.

The source added that for recipients of allocations below RM1 million, the investigation team had identified the companies and the special team set up by the MACC and ministry would call up all those involved to prove that all the grants received had been spent as stated in their applications.

“As of today, a total of 18 company directors have been arrested to assist in investigation and more will be detained considering the focus of the investigation team in phase one is on recipients of grants worth RM1 million and more,” said the source.

The source also said that of the 10 companies being investigated so far, 80 per cent of them are found to have misused or misappropriated allocations for personal gain.