Questioning of lawyers linked to CBT probe, says MACC

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has clarified that its investigation of two lawyers was related to allegations of fund misappropriation.

In a press statement on Tuesday (June 11), MACC denied claims by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) earlier in the day that it had harassed two lawyers to interfere with the public's right to legal representation.

“The MACC views the accusations made by the parties under investigation as unfounded and appear to be aimed at disrupting the ongoing investigation.

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“As the country's leading anti-corruption enforcement agency, the MACC will not succumb to any attempts to obstruct or interfere with an investigation according to established legal processes,” it said.

MACC added that the investigation was conducted under the MACC Act 2009 and for criminal breach of trust, with no intention to obtain information about the two lawyers' clients.

“Regarding the case, the MACC received complaints around the end of May from residents in a Damansara area alleging that management and maintenance funds collected by the JMB were believed to have been misappropriated.

“The initial investigation found grounds to suspect the occurrence of such events based on reports related to legal costs by the JMB, which were not fully declared.

“Therefore, the MACC launched an operation on June 4 with the suspected individuals having been detained and remanded for investigation purposes as they are among the main suspects,” the statement read.

It also clarified that as an enforcement agency, it had carried out the investigation according to the powers granted under the MACC Act 2009, namely Section 31: Power to Investigate and Search and Seize.

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Section 31 states that an MACC officer, based on reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed under the Act, may enter or forcibly open any premises; search, seize and take possession of any books, documents, account records, or data; and detain any person found on the premises.

The statement was issued after LFL claimed that lawyer Lai Chee Hoe had said he was detained for three days from June 4 to 6 at MACC’s headquarters in Putrajaya, after he was initially brought in for questioning.

He also claimed he was not given any reason for his detention and was told to stop representing his client in a case involving a strata title dispute.

LFL claimed during a press conference at its office that another lawyer, Irwin Lo, was also questioned by MACC over the same client.

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