MACC arrests four civil servants for accepting over RM5 million in bribes

PUTRAJAYA, March 12: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested four civil servants and is still looking for another individual for suspected bribery of over RM5 million from a tobacco, cigarette and alcohol smuggling syndicate via the country’s gateways.

According to sources, the four men, in their 40s and 50s, were arrested in the Klang Valley between 11 am and 4 pm yesterday in a special operation by MACC’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Division, the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

The men have been remanded for four days from today to Friday (March 15) after Magistrate Irza Zulaikha Rohanuddin allowed the anti-corruption agency’s application at the Putrajaya Magistrate’s Court.

In the operation, the MACC arrested eight individuals, including the four civil servants, who are believed to have been conspiring with the syndicate from 2018 to 2023.

“So far, the syndicate is believed to have caused a leakage in tax revenue estimated at about RM400 million and has given more than RM8 million in bribes to several individuals including civil servants to smuggle chewing tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol and several other items,” said the source.

MACC AML also seized various items such as handphones, laptops, personal computers, cash, houses and cars, with an estimated worth of nearly RM6 million, in addition to freezing 237 bank accounts involving a total of almost RM12 million.

“The syndicate is believed to be using a modus operandi of using mule accounts to make (bribe) payment transactions to civil servants who conspire with them,” said the source.

“Apart from this, the syndicate also was also found to be involved in money laundering activities by laundering money using ‘ghost company’ business accounts, through money changers and licensed moneylending companies,” added the source.

MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki when contacted confirmed the arrests and said the case is being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009 and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

He also said the MACC will also apply for remand against more individuals arrested under Section 17(b) of the MACC Act 2009.