KUANTAN: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has detained four employees of the Pahang Land and Mines Office (PTG) including a senior officer suspected of being involved in corruption linked to bauxite mining, amounting to more than RM100,000.
MACC Investigation Division director Datuk Azmi Baki said all suspects, aged between 30 and 38, were picked up around Kuantan at between 6 pm and 9 pm yesterday, based on two and a half months of investigations.
“We also found stashes of cash in their houses including in a washing machine of the senior officer’s house believed to be money from corruption activities,” he told a media conference at MACC Complex, here Thursday.
Azmi said that the suspects would protect the illegal bauxite mining activities using the modus operandi of selling 13D Form, a Mineral Ores Transfer Document issued by PTG to bauxite miners to transport the mineral.
The form which is only valid for one trip, would be produced by the lorry driver when transporting bauxite from the storage area to the port, he added.
“The form known as a docket among local residents costs only RM1 but was sold to illegal miners at between RM150 to RM200,” he said.
Azmi said that in the raids, MACC also recovered a large quantity of the forms kept by all suspects who were now remanded until Jan 14.
Investigations would be carried out on the offence of accepting bribes under Section 17(A) of the MACC Act 2009, which is punishable with a fine of RM10,000 or five times the value of the bribe and a maximum jail term of 20 years upon conviction.
Azmi also clarified that MACC had started receiving information on bauxite mining since the middle of 2015, but the complaints then were only related to environmental pollution issue, which was beyond the purview of the commission.
“We did not interfere as there was no elements of corruption. But do not say we did not take action as we have been gathering intelligence which could not be made public,” he said.
Azmi also did not rule out the possibility of MACC arresting more people especially middlemen and government officers from other agencies relating to the bauxite issue.
He called on members of the public with information on corruption in bauxite mining to come forward as investigations on the issue needed witnesses.
Apart from that, Azmi said investigations also found revenue leakages as it showed royalty collection by the state government amounted to only RM47 million in 2015 when it was estimated to be five times the amount collected.
“This caused the state government to suffer revenues losses in levy collection and we take a serious view as this can be due to corruption or weak enforcement,” he added.