Graft probes in relation to Covid-19 underway

PUTRAJAYA: Corruption involving the procurement of medical equipment and medicine was uncovered during the Covid-19 pandemic, says anti-graft chief Tan Sri Azam Baki.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief said that among the investigations it embarked on in relation to Covid-19 were the abuse of power in diverting relief aid, fraud related to falsified medical protective equipment and the bribery of enforcement officers when enforcing the movement control order.

“During the pandemic, many nations were dishing out economic assistance and making purchases of medical equipment and medicine through emergency funds.

“But it is sad that even in a pandemic and a state of emergency, some of these purchases are mired with corruption.

“This shows that there are some unscrupulous people who are still taking the opportunity to make illegal monies from people’s pain and misfortunes,” said Azam in his keynote address during the opening of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Forum here yesterday.

The MACC, he said, worked round the clock to ensure that corruption was well checked in the country, adding that in 2021, it opened 829 investigation papers which resulted in 851 arrests.

“As of April this year, we have opened 379 investigation papers and arrested 425 individuals,” he said.

On the investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, Azam said the anti-graft body had recovered about RM20bil worth of assets by way of compound and settlement.

“The work is not done yet and we will continue to further repatriate those stolen assets.

“It is hoped that more people will join the call to demand that all perpetrators of this crime pay for their evil actions,” he said.

Malaysia’s experience of handling and recovering huge sums of assets in the 1MDB case had received praise from many parties abroad, he added.

“Since 2018, the government has been actively pursuing the 1MDB-related cases on all fronts. This has brought about the prosecutions of some high-ranking senior government officials and politicians.

“MACC works with a number of international bodies and foreign law enforcement agencies to repatriate criminal proceeds from the 1MDB case to Malaysia.

“All these asset recovery efforts could not have been successful without the assistance of our various counterparts. These foreign agencies are part of Malaysia’s success in bringing back ill-gotten gains from abroad,” said Azam.

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