MORE PE­NANG ZA­KAT STAFF TO BE SUM­MONED

They will be called up in stages so as not to dis­rupt op­er­a­tions

New Straits Times - - News -

AU­DREY DERMAWAN AND MO­HAMED BASYIR GE­ORGE TOWN news@nst.com.my

MORE Pe­nang Za­kat em­ploy­ees are ex­pected to be quizzed by the Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC) in con­nec­tion with the agency’s al­leged graft scan­dal.

Sources told the New Straits Times they would be sum­moned to have their state­ments recorded within the next few weeks.

“MACC will con­tinue call­ing them up un­til suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion and ev­i­dence is gath­ered, in­clud­ing the money trail.

“Un­til then, the investigation will con­tinue,” the source said.

The source also said MACC would call the em­ploy­ees in stages to avoid any dis­rup­tion to the agency’s op­er­a­tions.

“Ra­madan is com­ing, so it is un­der­stood that the agency will be busy. They will have to be sum­moned in stages so that Pe­nang Za­kat can func­tion as usual.”

State Is­lamic Re­li­gious Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Ab­dul Ma­lik Abul Kas­sim told the NST that the seven Pe­nang Za­kat of­fi­cers ar­rested would not be al­lowed to re­sume ac­tive du­ties un­til the investigation was com­pleted.

He said de­spite not be­ing al­lowed to re­sume du­ties, it would not af­fect the run­ning of the agency.

“The seven of­fi­cers ar­rested, in­clud­ing its 50-year-old chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO), will be put in a pool pending investigation into the al­leged graft scan­dal.

“We have taken all mea­sures to en­sure that the investigation will not dis­rupt the run­ning of the agency’s daily op­er­a­tions,” he said.

It was re­ported that MACC re­ceived sev­eral com­plaints from the pub­lic on the agency’s al­leged graft ac­tiv­i­ties.

Pe­nang MACC di­rec­tor Datuk Ab­dul Aziz Aban had said that the of­fi­cers were al­leged to have re­ceived valu­able items, cheques and cash from con­trac­tors as in­cen­tives to give them projects or work re­lated to the agency’s pro­grammes.

He also said the CEO, a “Datuk”, was be­lieved to have given education aid and schol­ar­ships to his child with­out go­ing through the Pe­nang Is­lamic Re­li­gious Af­fairs Depart­ment.

The case is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated un­der Sec­tions 17(a), 17(b) and 23, of the MACC Act 2009 which car­ries a max­i­mum jail term of 20 years or a fine five times the bribe.

The CEO and three of­fi­cers were ar­rested along with seven con­trac­tors on May 9 for al­leged in­volve­ment in the Pe­nang Za­kat graft scan­dal that had been al­legedly go­ing on for the past three years.

The seven con­trac­tors and two of the of­fi­cers have been re­leased on bail af­ter a week-long re­mand, ex­cept for the CEO and an­other of­fi­cer.

An­other three of­fi­cers were ar­rested on Mon­day to as­sist in the investigation and have been re­manded for four days.

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