PETALING JAYA: A Forestry Department officer and his wife were among seven arrested in a major Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) crackdown on illegal logging.
The officer based in Jerantut is believed to have received millions of ringgit in kickbacks for turning a blind eye to illegal logging at a forest reserve.
The bribes, allegedly paid by loggers since 2015, were divided between the suspect and his team of enforcement officers.
Sources said checks showed a huge amount of money in the suspect and his wife’s bank accounts.
Also picked up in separate locations in Pahang were a company owner and his manager.
In neighbouring Terengganu, two suspects who owned separate logging companies along with a lorry driver tasked with transporting illegal logs were also detained.
It is learnt the suspects had been operating without a licence and had been paying off forestry officers there.
All seven suspects, aged between 32 and 62, were rounded up between 10.30am and 3.30pm yesterday.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrests, adding that they viewed the matter seriously as it had resulted in billions of ringgit in losses in government revenue and serious damage to the environment.
He said his officers were tracking down several other suspects to assist in investigations in the two states.
All seven suspects will be taken to the court to be remanded today.
Yesterday, The Star front-paged a report that the MACC would be launching an operation to nab those responsible for illegal logging in several states.