MACC may soon charge those involved in Mara scandal

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is looking at the possibility of charging certain individuals in the country over the acquisition of a student housing facility in Melbourne by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) seven years ago, in the wake of the latest move on the case by the Australian authorities.

Previous reports claimed that the Malaysian government agency had overpaid by A$4.75mil for the Dudley International House.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said the probe into the case had been completed at the domestic level but investigators faced a “slight hiccup” as they had to give some leeway to other authorities including the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to complete their case before it was concluded recently.“With that, we have already communicated with AFP and there is progress where evidence that we need will be given to us soonest.

“Therefore, we are discussing with the deputy public prosecutor to see if there are possible charges against certain people in the country based on the evidence provided by AFP,” he told reporters at the Corporate Liability – Are You At Risk? forum here yesterday.

Azam was asked to comment on the latest report on the Mara property scandal as Australian authorities seized properties and cash totalling A$1.6mil (RM4.8mil) from a man said to be a Malaysian living in Australia who is accused of bribing a Malaysian official to secure Mara’s purchase of the multimillion-dollar apartment complex in Melbourne in 2013.

The Dudley property scandal was first highlighted by the Australian media, which led to a revelation of other properties said to have also been bought at inflated prices.

“If the law allows us to, we will charge certain people over the Mara case,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azam denied claims that 50 farmers were called in to assist in a probe on the issue of encroachment in Raub for the cultivation of Musang King durian.

The MACC chief commissioner confirmed that investigation papers were opened by the Pahang MACC but no individuals were summoned over the issue.

The Save Musang King Alliance (Samka) had alleged that some 50 farmers were served with notices to appear in groups at the district MACC office, believed to be for questioning over widespread land encroachment activities in Raub.

In an immediate response, Samka has expressed surprise over Azam’s remark, saying that it was “inconsistent with facts as starting 10am on Tuesday (yesterday), about 30 unlicensed durian farmers had gone to the Raub MACC office with four lawyers to give their statements.“Both the durian farmers and MACC officers gave their full cooperation during the entire process,” the group said in a statement.

On Aug 28, the farmers obtained a temporary suspension order from the High Court against the eviction notice issued by the Raub District and Land Office and the Pahang Forestry Department for their alleged cultivation of Musang King illegally on the land.

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