Top Penang zakat official, 10 others held by MACC


GEORGE TOWN: A man who is one of the big bosses at the Pusat Zakat Pulau Pinang (Penang Zakat Centre) was one of 11 arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today.

They were detained for suspected involvement in a bribes-for-projects racket going on for the past three years.

Penang MACC director Abd Aziz Aban said the 50-year-old man had allegedly approved yearly study loans and other fees for his child without going through proper procedures.

Aziz said as part of Op Miskin, launched by the MACC, officers also arrested 10 others, who were department heads, officers and contractors, aged between 35 and 52, for alleged involvement in the racket.

He said MACC also found valuables, cash, cheques, luxury watches and expensive mobile phones, believed to be from company owners and suppliers, when the office of the top officer was raided in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam, this morning.

“We believe the zakat top official received cash and other valuables in return for projects involving Penang Zakat Centre’s community development programmes.

“We have also learnt that a sum of money meant for the project was also ‘returned’ to the zakat boss as a profit payment,” he said at a press conference at the MACC headquarters on Northam Road here today.

Aziz said MACC had also ascertained that seven contractors had “often” won contracts and tenders from the Zakat Centre.

“We have been keeping an eye on their activities since 2014 to December last year. We may be making more arrests in this case.”

Aziz said the 11 men arrested have been remanded for seven days for investigation under Section 17 of the MACC Act 2009.

Under this section, it is an offence for a person to accept, obtain, give or offer any gratification as an inducement for doing something.

If found guilty, they may be jailed for not more than 20 years and fined not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification received.