PUTRAJAYA, July 15 (Bernama) — More than RM1 billion reportedly seized from the bank account of China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Ltd (CPP) is for uncompleted works according to the contract, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said money for 80 per cent of the pipeline projects were paid but the work completed was only 13 per cent.
“So the government is entitled to get back the money since the project was cancelled,” he said in a press conference when asked on the matter after chairing Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) supreme council meeting here today.
Last Saturday, it was reported that the authorities seized more than RM1 billion from a HSBC bank account belonging to CPP.
Singapore’s Straits Times citing sources said Putrajaya had ordered HSBC to transfer the funds in CPP’s account to a company owned by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd.
CPP won a contract from the previous government under Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration in 2016 to build a petroleum pipeline stretching 600km along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and a 662km gas pipeline in Sabah.
But the projects were suspended last July by Dr Mahathir.
According to a Reuters report, Dr Mahathir had vowed to renegotiate or cancel what he calls “unfair” Chinese projects authorised by Najib.
Elaborating on the matter, Dr Mahathir said the government wanted to get back the money for the portion that was not implemented.
“They (CPP) took from the government 80 per cent of the contract price but they delivered only 13 per cent. So for the parts that are not delivered, the government is claiming back the money,” he said.
Asked on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement earlier today that neither he nor the MoF had instructed the seizure, Dr Mahathir said: “If the Finance Minister said the Prime Minister is responsible, I am responsible for the principle.”
He added, “When a contract is given and the contractor does not use the money given to them for constructing the whole project, if the rest of the project is not constructed, then the government is entitled to get back the money.”
To a question on whether CPP had been informed, Dr Mahathir said: “That one you have to ask the Singapore authorities because they were the one who published about this.”
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