PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will focus its efforts on improving the country's economy by reducing leakages and recovering the nation's wealth, says its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki.
In line with the changing times, he said MACC had adopted a modern and professional approach to combat corruption and reduce leakage, resulting in the recovery of government assets and funds.
He said MACC had devised a technique for investigating high-profile cases involving people in positions or high-ranking individuals using the intelligence-based investigation (IBI) method.
"It is used in cases where deep analysis of the subjects is conducted prior to proper investigations.
"Starting with the identification of high-profile corruption perpetrators and subsequently asset recovery, in which assets are returned to the government. This IBI method is able to uncover grand corruption," he said in a special interview in conjunction with MACC's 56th anniversary at the MACC headquarters here recently.
Azam said that MACC also conducted investigations using the management team-based investigation (MTI) method to produce a more transparent and quality investigation.
He said that these methods are used while taking into account the importance and urgency of a case, particularly when it involves organised crime.
"When corruption and power abuse happen, a significant amount of leakage is involved. But this does not mean that other (smaller) cases are ignored," he added.
Azam also said investigations, charges and several other legal processes were still ongoing, and that efforts to repatriate public funds are actively being pursued.
He said that one of the MACC's successes using these methods was the recovery of assets and funds related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case.
Azam also said that people should be aware of the new method in order for them to comprehend the advantages of implementing it.
"They consider (bringing) charges (in court) important. I do not regard them (the charges) as not important but if we can save costs by having a shorter trial, that is also beneficial," he said, adding that this approach was also adopted in developed countries such as the United States, which MACC used as a reference.
Azam also said the MACC was currently assessing the implementation of deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) mechanism within the MACC Act.
"We will propose to the government that this law (DPA) be enacted in which charges are deferred, and a resolution is reached to ensure that the country obtains higher revenue," he said.
On MACC's accomplishments in 2022, Azam said a total of 820 investigation papers involving corruption and abuse of power were opened, with 766 or 93.41% of the cases being resolved within the year.
"During that period, a total of 909 individuals were arrested, including 323 civil servants, while the rest were from the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the general public and others," he said
In terms of asset recovery, Azam said the total amount of assets that were forfeited last year was RM149,695,341.49, with compounds totalling RM44,454,800 issued under Section 92(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
"The highest contributor to the confiscated amount was from Ops 1MDB totalling RM64,386,825.68. This is a result of strategic cooperation between the MACC and other law enforcement agencies, including the US' Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)," he added.
According to Azam, from January to August this year, a total of 869 individuals – 324 of whom were civil servants – were arrested for corruption.
He added that 326 individuals have been charged in court for offences related to bribery, false claims and abuse of power.
Meanwhile, he said the MACC was optimistic about achieving the goal of making Malaysia a corruption-free nation by stepping up preventative measures to prevent and eradicate corruption at the grassroots level.
On MACC's 56th anniversary, Azam said among the events planned for the celebration are the Stamp Design Competition, which is held in collaboration with Pos Malaysia Berhad and a patriotic song contest for MACC officers and staff nationwide. – Bernama