The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating the records and accounts of the Youth and Sports Ministry following a request from its minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
It is learnt the minister had ordered an internal audit of the ministry’s accounts over the past five years to detect financial excesses and abuse of funds which had left the ministry’s coffers all but empty, while it was under the watch of his predecessor Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Sources said Ismail had ordered the audit two months ago after failing to obtain any co-operation or satisfactory explanation from several ministry officers.
“However, he was not satisfied with the results of the internal audit and approached the MACC as well as the Auditor-General’s Chambers for assistance,” said a source.
He said Ismail had warned staff and officers who had approved overspending and had spent on projects with suspect benefits to come clean or face the music.
“However, they refused to do so and the minister blew his top at one meeting and brought in the MACC to clean up the ministry,” said the source.
It is understood that Ismail is also questioning the existence of several bodies set up during Azalina’s tenure, such as the National Fitness Council and the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation Malaysia, which had received millions of ringgit from the ministry.
“Ismail is adamant about cleaning up the ministry, and his approaching the MACC and AG was a last resort since he could not get any satisfactory answers,” said a source.
Another source said the MACC had on Wednesday taken several documents from the ministry, including one pertaining to the purchase of a scoreboard for the Sukma Games, where the purchase and operations price of RM1 million was apparently inflated to RM11 million.
Other documents taken by the MACC included those pertaining to the poorly-received Champions Youth Cup (CYC) which Malaysia won a bid to stage for three years at RM17 million a year by paying bidding fees to a nearly out-of-business British promoter, as well as the National Sports Council (NSC) sports development fund which saw its RM500 million cash bank dwindle over the last few years.
MACC officials have been barred from revealing details of ongoing investigations but one high-placed source said the Commission is also investigating claims that several documents were shredded just before Ismail took over the ministry in March last year.
The source said a parallel MACC probe on the Tourism Ministry of which Azalina is the current minister is also taking into account similar allegations that several documents were destroyed following Azalina’s loss in her bid to retain a Supreme Council seat in last week’s Umno party polls.
“The investigations will look into whether the documents were disposed of on the minister’s directive or the sole actions of ministry officers,” the source said.
MACC probes Sports Ministry mismanagement under Azalina