THERE is lack of transparency in the recent arrests of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) enforcement officers linked to alleged abuse of power and misappropriation in a case involving a former director-general of a government agency.
Seizable criminal offences, if disclosed in a report, must be investigated by the police. It is also mandatory for the First Information Report to be transparent.
Discretion has no place for criminal offences that involve misappropriation, theft in dwelling or criminal breach of trust offences as stipulated in the Penal Code or other relevant laws outside the ambit of the MACC.
I stress this from experience, having been in a similar situation as a district crime chief. In that case, the exhibits were allegedly tampered with in the Anti-Corruption Office within my district’s jurisdiction.
The relevant department head contacted the OCPD (officer in charge of the police district) and immediately lodged a police report. The case was classified as a theft-in-dwelling offence, thus giving the police seizable powers to investigate.
This exercise in meticulous procedural law proved to be invaluable when the principle matter being investigated by the anti-corruption investigators went to trial. The police investigations were crucial in establishing the authenticity and chain of evidence of the relevant exhibits and the expected allegations.
MACC enforcement officers are not meant or trained to investigate criminal offences apart from corruption. This is also why criminal offences disclosed must be investigated under the normal procedure as all other police reports.
The responsibilities of the MACC under the MACC Act 2009 are specific and must be adhered to in the strictest available interpretation. Although MACC officers have the same special powers of investigations as the police, they should not usurp the role and function of the latter.
The MACC was set up solely to combat corruption and should not delve into investigating criminal offences that are stipulated in the Penal Code or other laws. It would seem that we now need another watchdog similar to the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission), which has been mooted for the police, for the MACC.