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Three Malaysian graft busters detained for allegedly stealing funds

KUALA LUMPUR

Three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers are arrested for allegedly misappropriating funds connected to a case involving the country’s former spymaster, further tarnishing the image of the agency.

The officers, who were detained last week, had allegedly stolen some of US$6 million (S$8.1 million) seized from the former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO), Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid. a number of the stolen cash was replaced with counterfeit currency.

The former spy chief was charged in 2018 with criminal breach of trust involving RM50.4 million (S$16.3 million) belonging to the govt .

But in April, she was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal within the supreme court . this suggests that she will be hauled up to court again if fresh evidence arises.

During investigations into her case, the MACC had seized cash and other belongings from her.

A source told The Straits Times that the three suspects were a part of a “special team” assigned to probe into the allegations of power abuse and malpractice involving the previous MEIO chief.

“They belong to an awfully ‘exclusive’ team. it is a known fact among the agency’s investigating officers that they need an in depth relationship with the chief,” the source said, pertaining to MACC chief Azam Baki.

The arrest of the anti-graft busters came to light after a blog called Edisi Siasat posted an entry revealing the small print on Sept 18.

It claimed that Madam Hasanah had gone to retrieve the cash , only to get that some had been replaced with fake notes, prompting her to file a police report.

But Malaysia’s Criminal Investigation Department chief Abd Jalil Hassan on Monday (Sept 20) said during a statement that he had yet to receive any police report regarding the alleged abuse of power and misappropriation of funds.

All three suspects were said to possess been remanded by the commission for 6 days from Sept 14, consistent with the blog, which questioned why their case was being treated as an indoor investigation rather than a police case.

Responding to the blog’s revelations, the commission confirmed that it’s arrested three of its officers to help in investigations into allegations of abuse of power and malpractice within the case of a former head .

“The three officers were brought before the Putrajaya Magistrate’s Court and remanded under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code for 6 days from Sept 14 to Sept 19, 2021,” it said during a statement.

It added that a radical investigation is under way.

“MACC would really like to emphasize that the commission won’t compromise or protect any of its officers involved in any criminal act and can take appropriate action if the act is true,” the MACC said.

This is not the primary time that the MACC has found itself embroiled during a scandal involving its own.

On June 15, an MACC officer was charged with allegedly conspiring with another man to receive RM100,000 in cash to shield a private from being investigated under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

In April, two MACC officials were among 12 enforcement officers nabbed by the Malaysian police for his or her alleged links with Malaysian fugitive businessman Nicky Liow Soon Hee.

Liow, 33, who is needed for alleged concealment and organised crime activities, is claimed to possess ties to convicted Hong Kong triad boss Wan Kuok-Koi, also referred to as Broken Tooth.

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