KUALA LUMPUR: A group of five Finance Ministry employees were fined between RM1,500 and RM2,000 each by the Sessions Court here over their failure to report corruption to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the first case of its kind in the country.
Sessions Court judge Manira Mohd Noor handed down a fine of RM1,500 each against Nurul Ashikin Zulkiflee, 33, and Azad Fadhmi Abdul Rahman, 34, while three others - Siti Nurkhairunnisa Adnan, 32, Mohd Fairus Hussin, 38, and Madiyana Mamat, 39, - were each sentenced to a RM2,000 fine.
The group had pleaded guilty to the charges brought separately against them here on Wednesday (Dec 2).
The court also ordered them to serve three months’ in jail if they fail to pay the fine.
According to the first until the fifth charge sheets, they were each accused of being offered bribes between RM200 and RM600 to expedite the approval process for five companies to be given bumiputra status and failed to report the offence to the MACC.
The charge under Section 25(1) of the MACC Act 2009 carries a maximum RM100,000 fine or imprisonment of up to 10 years or both, upon conviction.
At the time of the offence, Siti Nurkhairunnisa, Madiyana and Azad Fadhmi were accountant assistants, Nurul Asyikin was a finance administrative assistant and Fairus was an assistant administrative officer.
All of them were attached to the company registration unit of the government acquisition division at the Finance Ministry in Putrajaya.
The offences were committed at their unit in the Finance Ministry, Putrajaya, between May 2018 and June 2020.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharudin Wan Ladin told the court that this was the first case under the Section that was brought to court in the country.
“Corruption is a disease in society. The accused persons should have directly reported to the MACC when they were offered bribes but they failed to do so.
“Yes, the amount offered to them was rather small but if one does not have the strength, one could have accepted the bribe,” he said.
Meanwhile, lawyers Mohd Shahrullah Khan Nawab Zadah Khan dan Muhamad Aizat Fakri asked the court to do away with jail terms and only impose a minimum fine that would not exceed a month’s emoluments for the accused persons so that they would not lose their jobs.
Aizat said the accused persons have families to support and they have repented over their mistakes.
“They promise to report corruption to the authorities if it happens,” he said.
Prior to sentencing, Manira advised the five accused not to repeat the mistake even if it involved a small amount as corruption could destroy their future.