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Saturday July 12, 2008

Immigration chief and six others arrested for alleged graft

PUTRAJAYA: Immigration Department director-general Datuk Wahid Md Don and six others, including two businessmen, have been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency for alleged graft.

It is learnt that ACA officers from the agency’s headquarters here seized about RM500,000 from all of them including more than RM100,000 found in Wahid’s Jalan Duta house.

The seven, aged between 35 and 64, were arrested at various locations in the Klang Valley during a major operation which started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday.

Sources said the ACA officers arrested Wahid at 10.30pm on Thursday, shortly after he was alleged to have received some RM60,000 from a runner purportedly for a deal involving the issuance of work permits and extensions.

Remanded: Wahid (front) being led out of the Kajang magistrate’s court in Putrajaya by an ACA officer yesterday where he was ordered to be remanded for four days.

ACA director of investigations Datuk Shukri Abdul said seven people had been arrested including a director-general of a government department.

“We are investigating them for alleged involvement in the issuance of work permits to foreign workers,” he said.

Sources familiar with the investigations said the ACA had placed all seven on its radar for the past few weeks following complaints that an “elite” group with powerful connections in the department had been getting preferential treatment for extensions of work permits of foreign workers.

They said the group charged interested parties between RM300 and RM350 per worker.

They said ACA officers started making inquiries and found there was basis to the allegations before assembling a special team to investigate the case.

They also said investigations revealed that the “elite” group had been getting extensions for their workers, especially those from China, through one of the businessmen who is said to have “strong cables” in the department.

They added that the businessmen were acting as brokers for agents or agencies that needed extensions for their foreign workers.

Magistrate Mazuliana Abdul Rashid yesterday ordered Wahid to be remanded for four days to facilitate ACA investigations.

The others arrested earlier were also ordered to be remanded between four and five days.

Prior to taking up his post at the department in October 2006, Wahid was the Registrar of Societies.

He is the first director-general who did not rise from the ranks within the department.

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