ROYALS TO ESCAPE AFTER TAKING THE BRIBES? MACC TO ZOOM IN ONLY ON ‘TAN SRI’ & CLIENTS WHO PAID BRIBES BUT NOT THE BRIBE-TAKERS?

PUTRAJAYA: After the arrest of the Tan Sri in connection with an alleged RM2mil bribe offer to the Sultan of Johor, more people with titles conferred on them are likely to be called up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Many of them are said to be “clients” of the arrested man. They are among 15 or so individuals who will be called by anti-graft investigators as they dig into the man’s activities, including claims that he acted as a “broker” for titles.

MACC sources told The Star they have received information on those who had “dealings” with the businessman and would contact them to have their statements recorded.

“We have received some tip-offs. We know who sought his help to get titles conferred on them. They will need to come forward and give us information,” said a source.

However, sources were tight-lipped when asked if Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar would be giving his statement on the case.

Last Saturday, the Johor Sultan wrote on his official Facebook page that he was offered RM2mil to suggest a person’s name to the Chief Secretary to the Government for a “Tan Sri” title.

The 54-year-old businessman has been remanded for five days till April 4, for anti-graft officers to investigate the Sultan’s claim.

The man, clad in MACC’s orange lock-up attire, arrived at 9.30am escorted by MACC officers and was brought before magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman.

The Tan Sri, a well-known Klang-based businessman who moves in high society circles, avoided the flashing cameras by covering his face with his shirt.

Only his lawyers Datuk K. Kumaraendran, JR Tey and Datuk Joshua Kevin were at the court and none of his family members or associates were present.

MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki said the investigation would cover many angles and the suspect’s alleged activities as a “broker” would be one of it.

The businessman is accused of approaching Sultan Ibrahim with a bribe offer over an award recommendation to the King.

Only the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can award the prestigious titles of Tun and Tan Sri.

On Thursday, the MACC gave an ultimatum for the businessman to surrender by midnight or have his identity made public.

A few hours after Azam issued the warning, the individual came out of “hiding” and turned up at the anti-graft headquarters where he was arrested.

The Tan Sri has been described as a wealthy businessman in the shipping industry.

It is learnt that he has a successful bunkering business in Johor, including to supply fuel to ships and tugboats around ports in the state.

“Bunkering is a niche market and you need a lot of capital for the business,” a businessman said.

Some local businessmen have also expressed shock over his arrest as they claimed that he was a “down-to-earth” person despite being a multi-millionaire.

“He also likes to give to charity,” the businessman said, adding that he was puzzled as to why he would try to bribe the Johor Ruler.

ANN

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