Thursday January 21, 2010
34 arrested over bribery
Sex and money for sand mining ‘scam’
PUTRAJAYA: Thirty-four people were arrested around the country for allegedly receiving bribes and sexual favours in matters relating to sand-mining in a major swoop by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Deputy chief commissioner Datuk Shukri Abdull said those detained in a series of arrests in five states since Tuesday were 24 government servants, two political aides, three businessmen and five civilians.
The arrests were believed to be in Selangor, Johor, Perak, Pahang and the Federal Territory.
Shukri said some of the government servants were high-ranking officers while the two aides were a private secretary and a special officer. More arrests were expected in the coming days, he said.
The bribes, he added, were meant as inducements for the officers to approve or expedite approval of sand-mining permits and to refrain from taking action against those illegally mining or transporting sand.
“The total amount of bribes that we have traced so far is RM280,000. We believe they were paid between RM500 and RM50,000 each, and some of them received payments on a monthly basis.
“We have also found that three of those arrested received sexual favours,” he said here yesterday. He said MACC officers also confiscated RM50,000 from the suspects, some of whom were released after their statements were recorded.
Shukri said with the arrests, the commission believed that it had smashed a syndicate smuggling sand into a neighbouring country.
However, he declined to name the country involved or how many of those arrested were involved with the syndicate.
He also refused to divulge the rank of the officers arrested.
He would not say if Selangor state executive councillor Yaakob Sapari’s executive secretary Hussien Ahmad, who was picked up yesterday, was among those arrested.
Shukri said the arrests were made after the commission received 410 reports from the public regarding graft in sand-mining activities and that investigations and monitoring of those involved began in April last year.
“We started to look into the matter seriously because such cases of corruption can cause the state governments to lose thousands of ringgit in revenue,” he said.
Shukri said he was also told that there had been “a slight incident” when his officers made an arrest in Selangor.
“The suspect only agreed to go with the officers after they spoke to his lawyer and explained the matter to him,” he said, adding that such action was tantamount to obstructing an officer from performing his duty.