MACC: DE­TAINED 10 RE­CEIVED KICK­BACKS FROM IL­LE­GAL BAUX­ITE MIN­ERS

Sus­pects said to be tak­ing bribes from min­ers in vi­o­la­tion of baux­ite min­ing mora­to­rium

New Straits Times - - Front Page - HIDIR REDUAN AND AMI­RAH NABILAH KUANTAN news@nst.com.my

NINE as­sis­tant en­force­ment of­fi­cers from the state Land and Mines Of­fice and a se­nior state Cus­toms en­force­ment of­fi­cer are al­leged to be on the take from min­ers vi­o­lat­ing the mora­to­rium against baux­ite-min­ing in Pa­hang.

The nine state Land and Mines Of­fice of­fi­cers, aged be­tween 29 and 59, had pur­port­edly taken kick­backs from min­ers to turn a blind eye to their il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

The 56-year old Cus­toms of­fi­cer had al­legedly re­ceived bribes to ig­nore freshly mined baux­ite brought to Kuantan Port here to be ex­ported overseas.

Their ac­tiv­i­ties came un­done, how­ever, when they were picked up in a mas­sive anti-graft swoop by the Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC) be­tween 12.15am and 3.45pm two days ago.

On Wed­nes­day, the Cus­toms of­fi­cer was or­dered to be re­manded seven days by mag­is­trate Tengku Eliana Tuan Ka­maruza­man.

The nine state Land and Mines Of­fice of­fi­cers , clad in the orange MACC lock-up uni­form and shield­ing their faces when they ar­rived at the Kuantan Courts Com­plex here, were or­dered by Eliana to be re­manded for seven days start­ing yes­ter­day.

She is­sued the or­der af­ter a hear­ing that lasted over 90 min­utes from 10.30am.

This was re­vealed by MACC deputy pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor Mo­hamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry af­ter he at­tended the nine state Land and Mines Of­fice of­fi­cers’ re­mand pro­ceed­ings yes­ter­day.

He said that all 10 men were re­manded to as­sist a probe into their al­leged role in graft linked to fa­cil­i­tat­ing baux­ite-min­ing, which con­tra­venes the mora­to­rium im­posed on Jan 15 last year.

He said the re­mand of the state Land and Mines Of­fice of­fi­cers ends on Aug 9.

They are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated un­der Sec­tion 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009.

Two days ago, MACC also raided the of­fices of state Land and Mines Of­fice, the Cus­toms and Ex­cise De­part­ment and Kuantan Port Au­thor­ity to seize doc­u­ments re­lated to the pur­ported il­le­gal baux­ite min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

MACC had con­fis­cated 18 lor­ries trans­port­ing baux­ite from il­le­gal mines around Bukit Goh and Bukit Sagu on Tues­day.

Mean­while, when met at the Cor­rup­tion-Free Pledge at Pen­gu­ru­san Air Pa­hang Bhd (PAIP) here yes­ter­day, state MACC di­rec­tor Datuk Alias Salim said many Pa­hang gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and agen­cies had yet to sign the pledge.

He said the state Land and Mines Of­fice was among the de­part­ments that had yet to sign the pledge, which was also an ini­tia­tive by MACC to curb graft.

He added that po­lice, the Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency and Peo­ple’s Vol­un­teer Corps were among the sig­na­to­ries of the pledge in Pa­hang.

“At the mo­ment, we are dis­cussing with sev­eral de­part­ments and agen­cies, es­pe­cially their en­force­ment arms, to im­ple­ment the pledge soon.”

Present were PAIP chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Mohd Za­hari Md Isa and deputy Pa­hang MACC di­rec­tor Ja­malud­din Puteh.

Mean­while, last night, the com­mis­sion said it had raided seven lo­ca­tions here as part of its probe into il­le­gal baux­ite min­ing in the state.

Among the lo­ca­tions were of­fices at Kuantan Port, Cus­toms De­part­ment and sev­eral com­pa­nies.

Doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing Cus­toms re­lated forms, bank state­ments, ex­port doc­u­men­ta­tion and lap­tops were seized.

MACC also raided houses of those ar­rested and seized doc­u­ments crit­i­cal to the probe.

“Un­til to­day, the state­ments from 18 wit­nesses have been taken.

“They in­clude driv­ers of lor­ries trans­port­ing il­le­gally-mined baux­ite, a man­ager, a com­pany su­per­vi­sor and a com­pany sec­re­tary.”

MACC In­tel­li­gence Di­vi­sion di­rec­tor Datuk Seri Ah­mad Khu­sairi Yahya con­firmed the mat­ter, say­ing that the com­mis­sion was tak­ing fur­ther ac­tion with re­gard to the case.

BY FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG PIC

Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion en­force­ment of­fi­cers es­cort­ing the sus­pects at the Kuantan Courts Com­plex yes­ter­day.

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