PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will focus its efforts on improving the country’s economy by reducing leakages and recovering the nation’s wealth, says its chief commissioner Azam Baki.
He said MACC is currently adopting a modern and professional approach to combating corruption and reducing leakages, and in the process, ensuring the recovery of government assets and funds.
According to him, the commission had devised a technique for investigating high-profile cases involving people in positions or high-ranking individuals using an Intelligence-Based Investigations (IBI) method.
“It is used in cases where deep analysis of the subjects is conducted prior to proper investigations.
“It begins with the identification of high-profile corruption suspects and subsequently asset recovery, in which assets are returned to the government.
“This IBI method is able to uncover grand corruption,” he said in a special interview in conjunction with MACC’s 56th anniversary at the MACC headquarters here recently.
Azam said that MACC also conducted investigations using the Management Team-based Investigation (MTI) method to produce a more transparent and quality investigation paper.
He said that these methods were used while taking into account the importance and urgency of a case, particularly when it involved organised criminal activities or syndicates.
“This is because when corruption and abuse of power happen, they involve a significant amount of leakage. But this does not mean that other (smaller) cases are ignored.
“It is also the MACC’s responsibility to help the country to revitalise the economy,” he added.
Recovery of 1MDB assets
At the same time, Azam said investigations, charges, and several other legal processes were still ongoing, and that efforts to repatriate public funds were being actively pursued.
He said that one of the MACC’s success stories in using these methods was the recovery of assets and funds related to the 1MDB case.
Azam added that people should be made aware of the new method in order for them to comprehend the advantages of implementing it.
“They consider (bringing) charges (in court) important. I do not regard them (the charges) as not important, but if we can save costs by having a shorter trial, that is also beneficial,” he said.
According to Azam, this approach was also adopted in developed countries such as the United States, which MACC used as a reference.
In line with that, Azam said the commission was currently assessing the implementation of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) mechanism within the MACC Act.
“We will propose to the government that this law (DPA) be enacted in which charges are deferred, and a resolution is reached to ensure that the country obtains higher revenue (from the return of assets and funds),” he said.
On MACC’s accomplishments in 2022, Azam said a total of 820 investigation papers involving corruption and abuse of power were opened, with 766 or 93.41% of the cases being resolved within the year.
“During that period, a total of 909 individuals were arrested, including 323 civil servants, while the rest were from the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the general public, and others,” he said.
In terms of asset recovery, Azam said the total amount of assets that were forfeited last year was RM149,695,341.49, with compounds totalling RM44,454,800 issued under Section 92(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.
“The highest contributor to the confiscated amount was from Op 1MDB totalling RM64,386,825.68. This is a result of strategic cooperation between the MACC and other law enforcement agencies, including the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” he added.
On the statistics for this year, Azam said from January to August, a total of 869 individuals, 324 of whom were civil servants suspected of being involved in corruption were arrested, adding that 326 individuals have been charged in court for offences related to bribery, false claims, and abuse of power.
Meanwhile, he said the commission was optimistic about achieving the goal of making Malaysia a corruption-free nation by stepping up measures to prevent and eradicate corruption at the grassroots level.