MACC PROBES MONEY-LAUNDERING ELEMENT IN JOHOR EXCO MAN’S CASE
Op Skyline to look into money laundering
CHUAH BEE KIM
THE Malaysian AntiCorruption Commission (MACC) has sent a team to look into money-laundering in a real estate corruption scandal in the state.
The operation, codenamed Op Skyline, had begun before the arrest of state executive council member Datuk Abd Latif Bandi on Thursday.
A source told New Straits
Times that a team from MACC’s Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla) investigation branch arrived here last week and had been making progress on the case. “It is likely that a few more people could be hauled up soon to help with investigations,” said the source.
He did not deny the possibility that another high-ranking individual could be detained later to help in the investigations.
Yesterday, MACC obtained a seven-day remand order against Latif to conduct investigations under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act and Section 4 of the AntiMoney Laundering, Anti -Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
Anyone found guilty of an offence under the first section is liable to a maximum jail term of 20 years or a fine of five times the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher upon conviction. Those guilty of an offence under the second section are liable to a maximum jail sentence of 15 years, and a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the amount, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Johor Baru High Court senior assistant registrar Nur Sulehan Abdul Rahman granted MACC deputy public prosecutor Khazrin Haffiz Khalil’s application for a remand order, which ends on Thursday.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said MACC should be given the space to conduct investigations.
“The state government wishes to stress that we will give our full cooperation and will not interfere in the investigation process. The state government’s stand is that it is important for the due process of law to take place in a smooth manner,” he said, adding that he wanted the state administration to be free of corruption and misappropriation.
Seven individuals, including Latif ’s son and special officer, were detained by MACC beginning on Feb 24 to facilitate investigations into a real estate corruption scandal.
The MACC froze RM15.5 million deposited in 45 bank accounts and seized 21 luxury cars, five high-powered motorcycles and RM500,000 in ringgit and foreign currencies.
On March 1, the state executive council approved Latif’s request to take leave for an undetermined period of time.
MACC raided his home and seized 150 branded handbags, RM41,000 and a luxury vehicle.
Datuk Abd Latif Bandi (dressed in an orange T-shirt) arriving at the High Court in Johor Baru yesterday.