Smuggling probe: 34 nabbed so far over leakages of up to RM2bil over two years, says MACC


PUTRAJAYA: Graft investigators have arrested 34 officers from the Customs Department's import/export branch at KLIA Cargo in connection with smuggling activities, says Tan Sri Azam Baki.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner said that under a special operation codenamed Ops Samba 2.0, 27 individuals as well as company owners were also arrested in connection with the case.

ALSO READ: More civil servants nabbed for taking bribes from smugglers

From the arrests, 17 of the Customs officers and eight civilians were remanded.

Azam said that a taskforce, comprising the MACC, the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) as well as Bank Negara was set up to investigate the case, adding that the taskforce was on the case for six months before arrests were made.

“The Customs officers involved are from Grade 19 to Grade 44 and their duty is to inspect goods and prevent (smuggling and undeclared imports).

“Their modus operandi is rather simple. The officers who we believed have taken money from companies and forwarding agents will either let the goods go without inspection or declarations.

“If they do inspect, it will not be a thorough check and the goods will be allowed to leave the vicinity,” he said at a press conference on Friday (March 29).

He said that from the investigations carried out so far, the Customs officers were believed to have received RM4.7mil from the syndicate to facilitate the smuggling of chewable tobacco, cigarettes, liquor, health products and vehicle spare parts.

“We also believe that this so-called ‘working relationship’ between the civil servants and syndicate has been going on since 2017," Azam added.

ALOSO READ: Civil servants held for RM5mil bribe from smugglers

MACC’s anti-money laundering division has also frozen 213 bank accounts with RM17mil belonging to the suspects.

Azam said that investigators are targeting to complete their investigations in one-and-a-half months and for them to submit the papers to the Attorney General’s Chambers for the next course of action.

“At the same time, the Inland Revenue Board and Bank Negara are also looking at recovery of money and assets.

“We are not involving the Customs Department in this case to avoid conflict of interest,” he added.

It was earlier reported that more than a dozen civil servants from an enforcement agency were remanded, alleged to have received bribes from a smuggling syndicate.

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MACC , Customs , KLIA , Smuggling , Arrest

   

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