Three JPJ officers remanded in probe on protection racket for lorry drivers

GEORGE TOWN: Three Road Transport Department (JPJ) officers have been remanded for four days to assist with investigations related to a multi-state lorry driver protection racket that was busted recently.

They were detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) here to help with a probe of bribery cases detected under Ops Sukat and connected to four other states, namely Kedah, Perlis, Perak and Melaka.

It was reported on Tuesday (March 16) that MACC arrested 44 individuals including 32 JPJ officers over a corruption case involving RM1.64mil.

The three men were the only ones remanded out of nine who were arrested in Penang.

According to sources, the officers would not take action against lorry operators who committed traffic offences after allegedly receiving bribes deposited into personal bank accounts or through a middle man, on a monthly basis.

The three men, one aged 39 and the other two aged 43, were brought to the George Town Sessions Court here at 10.25am dressed in orange lock-up attire and with their faces covered.

The men, escorted by MACC officers, were made to sit along the court walkway before being produced in the courtroom for the remand order.

They left the courtroom at 11.15am after assistant registrar Muhammad Azam Md Eusoff allowed the three officers to be remanded for four days until Friday (March 19).

Muhammad Azam granted the remand order under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code to help with the probe under Section 16(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009.

The charge under Section 16(a)(B) of the MACC Act 2009 for bribery is punishable under Section 24(1) of the same act, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Deputy public prosecutor S. Selvaranjini represented MACC.

In 2019, a similar operation resulted in a JPJ officer being slapped with 33 charges of bribery and facing a total of 660 years imprisonment.

JPJ assistant enforcement officer Muhammad Firdaus Jaafar, 46, claimed trial to the charges at the Sessions Court in Butterworth on May 28 that year.

In the same case, eight others were charged with multiple counts of bribery, including former Land Public Transport Commission officer Mohd Noor Fadzny Noordin.

The bribes were inducement to not take action against lorry companies that committed traffic offences.

The payments were also for tip-offs which companies and drivers received about JPJ operations.

Those who paid the “protection” money would be given special logos to display on their windscreens for JPJ officers to identify them.

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