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

New Straits Times - - Front Page - » RE­PORT BY HARIZ MOHD

HARIZ MOHD

KUALA LUMPUR harizm@nst.com.my

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

Times.

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

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