THE Tan Sri detained after the sultan of Johor spilled the beans on him had charged business tycoons up to RM5 million for a “Tan Sri” title.
The New Straits Times has learnt that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators are fast uncovering how the well-connected suspect managed to convince rich individuals desperate for honorific titles to part with large sums of their money just to get the title.
While most would recoil in shock over the amount demanded, it is learnt that several tycoons had paid the amount to secure the titles.
The NST had on Monday reported that MACC investigators were zooming in on several people who had been conferred titles with the help of the 54-year-old man, who acted as an agent of sorts and received commission from those he helped get titles.
It has now emerged that he not only acted as a go-between to secure the Tan Sri titles for RM5 million, but also touted the “Datuk Seri” title for RM2 million and the “Datuk” title for RM1 million.
“We believe he has been involved in brokering this kind of deals for some time. His strong connections in several states had enabled him to broker the deals easily,” a source told the NST.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki, when asked to comment on this yesterday, declined to elaborate on the ongoing probe involving the suspect as it would jeopardise the graft busters’ investigations.
He said MACC would probe the case from “every possible angle”.
It was reported that the suspect was forced to surrender himself last Friday after he was issued an ultimatum to either give himself up or have his identity made public.
This happened after Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar revealed last month that an agent had offered him RM2 million to propose names to the chief secretary to the government for the “Tan Sri” title bestowed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
In an exclusive interview with the Media Prima Bhd group, Sultan Ibrahim said the individual claimed that the ruler had a quota of Tan Sri titles to give out and that he might as well make a profit from it.
Sultan Ibrahim later revealed the name of the agent to MACC.
Azam had on Monday told the NST the commission was in the midst of locating witnesses to assist in MACC probe.
Meanwhile, the MACC yesterday obtained a three-day extension on the remand order against the suspect.
The remand extension, which takes effect today, was issued by Magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman yesterday. It expires on April 7.
The man, accompanied by three MACC officers, arrived at the Putrajaya magistrate’s court at 9.30am, covering his face with an orange T-shirt to avoid photographers taking pictures of him.
He was also accompanied by his lawyers, Datuk K. Kumaraendran and Datuk Joshua Kevin. – NST