Malaysia’s anti-corruption chief says agency is independent, free from influence by PM Najib

06-Dec-2017 Intellasia | Agencies | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has never given directives to either pursue or withhold action against any individual but has given “full independence” to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (Macc), the agency’s chief Dzulkifli Ahmad said on Monday, adding that its actions are free from political pressure.

“Since August 1, 2016 until today, December 4, 2017, I want to state here listen carefully the prime minister of Malaysia has never ever given any instruction to not take action or to take action against anyone, never,” said Dzulkifli, who assumed his post on August 1 last year.

“But what you have heard on social media is that it is as if the Macc is being controlled by the country’s leaders to follow their instructions,” he added during a dialogue with university students in Kuala Lumpur.

Responding to questions on whether there was political pressure to not act against any person engaged in corruption, he said: “I want to say that it is all untrue, because the Najib administration has never given (the commission) any instruction, and he gives me full independence to take action against anyone whom I feel should be taken action against.”

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He said the decisions made by the Macc leadership on cases are “made independently without outside influence”.

“I do not care who is being charged. I want to put the fear in those involved in corrupt practices,” he said.

The Macc currently does not have prosecution powers and conducts investigation on alleged corruption, while the Attorney-General’s Chambers decides on whether to initiate or drop prosecution and conducts prosecution.

In recent years, the Macc has been accused of being selective in its dragnet, with opposition politicians criticising the agency for not investigating 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which is under probe in at least six other countries for money-laundering and misappropriation of funds.

Last month, minister in the prime minister’s Department Paul Low said that the Macc had not investigated 1MDB because other authorities, such as Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and the Public Accounts Committee, had done so.

While the Macc did not probe 1MDB itself, it had investigated a RM2.6 billion (S$869 million) deposit into Najib’s personal bank account which the prime minister had called a donation from Saudi Arabia.

The Malaysian Attorney-General has cleared Najib of any criminal offences or corruption and the prime minister has denied allegations that he had interfered in the country’s legal processes with respect to the investigations on wrongdoings allegedly committed by him.

On the investigation against former rural and regional development minister Shafie Apdal, Dzulkifli said Macc would only open an investigation paper after assessing the case to see if there was sound basis to the report lodged.

The Macc is investigating some 350 rural projects involving water and electricity supply, as well as road projects, given by the ministry to 60 companies between 2009 and 2015 in Sabah.

Some RM1.5 billion in federal funds are believed to have been misappropriated from a RM7.5 billion allocation for Sabah.

Shafie had headed the ministry until he was dropped from the cabinet line-up in July 2015. He then formed a new party aligned to the opposition.

Last month, Shafie was called up by the Macc over his recommendation for a company trying to land a RM43 million maintenance project from a university in Sabah.

He has claimed that the investigations are part of a “political assassination” to destroy him.

“Why is action being taken now? You have to ask the previous Macc leadership as to why no action was taken previously,” said Dzulkifli.

“The issue here is not when we take action, it is whether there was corruption at that point in time,” he added.

“It doesn’t matter if it was last year or this year, we will still take action, but if there is no corruption, we will not take any action,” he said in reference to action taken against Shafie.

https://www.todayonline.com/world/malaysias-anti-corruption-chief-says-agency-independent-free-influence-pm-najib

 


Category: Malaysia

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