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Malaysia

SABAH FOUNDATION DIRECTOR CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION

Updated: February 11, 1990 05:00 PM GMT
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Jeffrey Kitingan, director of the Sabah Foundation, has been arrested and charged on seven counts of corruption involving more than M$1 million (US$370,000).

He is the brother of Sabah Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the only Catholic chief minister in Malaysia. Jeffrey Kitingan was charged in the Sessions Court here Jan. 23 and released on M$1 million bail with M$50,000 deposited in two local sureties.

Sessions Court Judge Idrus Harun ordered that Kitingan´s passport be impounded and held in the custody of the Anti-Corruption Agency.

Upon application by the prosecution, the judge ordered the case transferred to the High Court.

The Sabah Foundation was set up by the Sabah state government in 1966 with various welfare aims. Kitingan was appointed director in 1985.

Opposition parties are calling for Jeffrey Kitingan´s dismissal or suspension but Chief Minister Kitingan declared Jan. 31 that the question of removing his brother as Sabah Foundation director did not arise at the moment, referring to similar cases in which prominent personalities in peninsular Malaysia were not dismissed until proven guilty.

The charges against Kitingan follow allegations that he received money or shares in shipping companies as an inducement for showing favor by assisting certain companies in the carriage of logs for the Sabah Foundation.

He is alleged to have received these favors through businessman Freddy Lim Nyuk Sang, who has been detained for alleged economic sabotage under Malaysia´s Internal Security Act.

This report was confirmed in Parliament by Deputy Home Affairs Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob.

Jeffrey Kitingan, 42, joined the civil service as a clerk with the state veterinary department in 1968. Following a series of posts in Sabah state departments and further studies in Australia and the United States, he was appointed director of the foundation.

As Director of the Sabah Foundation and its investment arm, Innoprise Corporation, Kitingan reportedly became one of the most influential people in Sabah, after his brother the chief minister.

Sources in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah´s capital, say people are not surprised by the arrest as there has been widespread corruption in the state for many years.

Many people however, reportedly admire Kitingan for his efficiency as Sabah Foundation director, his outspokenness on political issues and the role he plays in fostering rural development.

END

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