EASY MONEY FOR ROGUE DRUG COPS
OPPORTUNITIES abound for dirty policemen to manipulate loopholes in the anti-narcotic workflow to squeeze money from drug lords. Sources told NST of Narcotics Department personnel allegedly switching urine samples and blackmailing syndicates into sharing
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ROGUE cops who worked hand-in-glove with drug lords used loopholes in the anti-narcotics operational framework to “earn” dirty money on the job.
Sources said the problem was exacerbated with the presence of “runners”, who made money by being middlemen for syndicates to pitch bribes to enforcers.
“The workflow in any drug bust is divided into four — intelligence gathering, operations (raids and arrests), investigations and, finally, taking the suspect to be charged in court. In each of these stages, there are plenty of opportunities for corruption.
“(These loopholes) gave the officer or personnel involved the opportunity to ‘go for it’,” one source told the New Straits
The NST was told of several examples of how these rogue policemen were exploiting loopholes at the Narcotics Department, including switching urine samples, “throwing away” certain amount of drugs seized to reduce the charges, tweaking raid reports and blackmailing syndicates into sharing what they were making.
“It is easy. At the intelligence gathering stage, only the person in charge would know details about the case they are building. By virtue of having the information at hand, they can blackmail syndicates into paying them to make the case file disappear.
“At the operational stage, there are many ways, including tipping off syndicates who are already paying them, or declaring that a raid was blown. What really happens is that these rogue cops squeezed money from the suspects in exchange for letting them go free,” said the source.
Another source said it was also not unusual to see discrepancies in the amount of drugs and cash seized during raids.
“From what I have seen, it is usually the money. There were also instances where some of the drugs seized went ‘missing’. Such discrepancies are evident to those who were part of the raiding party, upon seeing the reports.”
It is learnt that corrupt investigators can easily get RM2,000 just to switch urine samples of suspected drug users, while the price of changing the amount of drugs — usually done before any evidence is sent to the Chemistry Department for tests — can fetch between RM8,000 and RM12,000.
Big-time smugglers or distribution rings, meanwhile, were said to be willing to pay tens of thousands of ringgit to have cases against them “weakened”.
Another source said runners do not only have narcotics officers in their pockets. They are also believed to be paying government pathologists and chemists as a failsafe should they fail to “persuade” policemen involved in a particular case to work in their favour.
It is understood that big syndicates also employed runners to influence those involved in cases that had gone beyond the investigation process. These runners, said several sources, were believed to have their tentacles in many state and district police headquarters. Some of them have people who would tip them off, letting them know which investigating officer was handling a certain case and whether these officers can be “bought”.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil said every enforcement agency, especially those deemed high risk, must practice corruption risk management.
By doing this, he said, an agency can identify loopholes in their operations and take countermeasures to tighten procedures.
“It is important for every agency to have corruption risk management. Not only the Narcotics Department or the police... as long as they deal with the public. We are ready to assist any agency in training their officers to mitigate corruption risks,” he said.
Shamsun also praised the move by federal police, who arrested their own for working with drug syndicates.
He said such internal control was more effective and should be emulated by other law enforcement agencies, adding that this was a strong signal that the force does not tolerate corrupt practices.
Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil