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MACC fails to redeem itself

 | April 3, 2012

With the files on Gani, Bakri and Musa closed, where does that leave MACC in terms of earning the rakyat’s trust?


Using “lack of evidence” as an excuse, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has closed the files on graft charges brought against Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, Crime Investigations Department director Bakri Zinin, and former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hasan.

The allegations of graft were made by former Commercial Crime Investigations Department director Ramli Yusoff, who filed the case two years ago.

Ramli has accused Gani, Musa and the MACC of conspiring to discredit him and his men for arresting alleged underworld figure Goh Cheng Poh, also known as “Tengku Goh”.

The former CCID alleged that the then ACA, now known as the MACC, had relied on a dubious character to charge him with corruption with assets worth RM27 million when he was a police officer.

An emergency motion tabled by opposition parliamentarians to set up a tribunal to hear the charges against Gani and Musa was rejected during the on-going sitting.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak last week rejected calls for the tribunal, saying it was unsubstantiated allegations.

With the files on Gani, Bakri and Musa closed, where does that leave MACC in terms of earning the rakyat’s trust?

By continuously bowing to the demands of the “powers-that-be” and stashing away investigation files on the trio, MACC has joined the “company” of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), the latter having earned the nickname “toothless tiger” by virtue of its failure to act “independently”.

MACC’s operations deputy director-general Mohd Shukri Abdull last week was quoted as saying: “We have decided to close our investigation papers until and unless someone brings forth new evidence.”

“There is no evidence against the two of them and weak evidence against the third,” Shukri said.

Far from being transparent

This latest development involving MACC has not only confirmed the rakyat’s fears that the commission is far from being transparent and just; it also shows that the MACC continues to receive orders from the “powers-that-be”.

The allegations against Gani, Bakri and Musa were made by a top cop who knows the worth of evidence. As such, to quell the allegations claiming “lack of evidence” makes no sense.

As long as MACC remains under the Prime Minister’s Department, there will always be the pretext of “lack evidence” to allow influential individuals to escape being investigated.

If that is what MACC intends to go on doing, why the pretense of claiming it is modelled after top anti-corruption agencies, such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (New South Wales, Australia).

July 2009 was the beginning of the end for MACC, its credibility tarnished after Teoh Beng Hock, political aide to a DAP state assemblyman, was found murdered on the building which houses the MACC in Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, hours after Teoh was interrogated by the commission officers.

An inquest was held and the coroner returned an open verdict, but after much pressure a Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up to ascertain Teoh’s death, which was in the end classified as suicide, albeit his family’s firm belief that he was actually murdered.

MACC went on to create more bad news when on April 6, 2011, Customs officer Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed was found dead on the badminton court after falling from the third floor of the Federal Territory MACC office in Kuala Lumpur. There were allegations that he was involved in a corruption investigation involving 62 customs officers.

MACC no longer trustworthy

Reneging on its promise to the rakyat to not compromise on cases involving high-profile individuals, MACC has little “capital” left to bank on in trying to assure the people it will work hard to ensure justice is served.

It was on July 31, 2010 that MACC chief, Abu Kassim Mohamed, pledged to resign if any graft reports were not investigated by his agency, including high-profile cases involving government ministers.

With MACC no longer a trustworthy entity, there is little the rakyat can expect from it when it comes to investigating corrupt politicians.

Former MACC member Robert Phang has hit the nail on the head when he demanded that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, be hauled up for alleged abuse of power and for “living beyond his means”.

The philanthropist said this was only proper as Nazri had made statements that the government would not investigate Gani’s alleged abuse of power in a number of cases.

“It is not for the minister to state whether the complicity of Gani should be investigated just as it is not for him to direct government-linked companies to settle their cases with Tajudin Ramli [former Malaysia Airlines executive chairman].

“Nazri may be the law minister, but he has no legal or moral authority to tell the police how to carry out the law if he cannot control his lawless son and his bodyguards in connection with the recent assault of a security guard,” he said.

Abuse of power

Citing police reports made available to him, Phang claimed that Nazri’s son had even used his (Nazri’s) name card to introduce his entourage.

“Is that not abuse of power? The rakyat are not amused that the case has been classified as ‘Affray’ under Section 160 of the Penal Code. Affray [means] fighting in a public place. His son’s bodyguards trespassed onto private property and assaulted a security guard. How could that be an affray?” he asked.

Phang said the rakyat want to know how could Nazri’s son afford such luxurious cars – a Porsche driven by him and a Toyota Vellfire by his bodyguards?

“Why did he need bodyguards? What business is he in? Are we seeing further examples of ‘Cowgate’ among the families and sons of ministers who live in absolute opulence whereas the people are told to be thrifty and constantly reminded of rising inflation and high cost of living?”

Phang said the MACC should seriously look into whether Nazri’s family members are living beyond their means or having unusual wealth, saying that all civil servants are subjected to the MACC Act.

With all that Phang has revealed, will MACC still hide under the flimsy excuse of “lack of evidence” when it comes to investigating corrupt civil servants?

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.


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