RM3.5bil ‘Kontena Terbang’ smuggling case under further probe

Big haul: Seized items from the Customs Department officers, who were detained to assist in a corruption probe and believed to have caused leakages of RM3.5bil in Port Klang, include RM4.4mil in cash.

PUTRAJAYA: Describing it as one of the biggest successes in curbing corruption among enforcement officers and dealing with leakages in government revenue, the anti-graft agency has detained 11 Customs Department officers to assist in a probe, said to have caused leakages of RM3.5bil in Port Klang.

As the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probes deeper into the activities of the syndicate which they named “Kontena Terbang”, the agency is widening its dragnet to nab those involved in the smuggling activities.

MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki did not rule out more arrests following the latest detention of Customs officers and seizures. He said the MACC is also working closely with the Attorney General’s Chamber (AGC) to get approval to expand its investigations across the Causeway.

“We have already begun intelligence sharing with our counterpart in Singapore to identify suspects involved in the smuggling activities,” he told reporters after attending a book launch ceremony by Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) titled “Sin of Corruption – A Religious Perspective” yesterday.

The Customs officers were among 17 individuals nabbed by the MACC, which also seized RM4.4mil in cash, believed to have been obtained by the Customs personnel through corrupt practices.It is learnt that the six other suspects detained are company directors and staff, as well as a runner and his lover.

Sources with knowledge of the probe against the syndicate, which graft investigators had named “Kontena Terbang”, said that 12 bank accounts under companies and individuals with money amounting to RM2mil had been frozen.

“Investigators are also in the process of tracking other accounts believed to have been used by suspects of this syndicate,” said a source.

Aside from cash, it is learnt that four Yamaha XMAX worth RM28,000, a Toyota Alphard valued at more than RM200,000, a BMW car, jewellery, luxury watches and a plot of land – all believed to have been bought in cash – had also been seized.

“These are some of the items which MACC investigators have managed to detect and seize so far,” the source added.

The MACC was said to have worked closely with the Customs Department to inspect all the 19 containers which had been seized earlier.

Checks revealed that the syndicate had made false declarations on the contents, including claiming that the goods were − among others − wheelchairs, textiles, commodes and non-taxable health equipment.

“However, when checks were made, it was found that the containers carried items such as LED lights, solar panels, motorcycle accessories, sport rims, clothing items, Chinese tea, vehicle parts and canned processed pork,” the source said.

Authorities estimated that the tax on the goods amounted to millions of ringgit.

In May, the MACC launched a probe into Customs officers and personnel on duty at the cargo section of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), where leakage of tax revenue as much as RM2bil was detected.

The special operations codenamed “Ops Samba” saw 23 civil servants from the department brought to court.

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