MACC announces RM26m in US currency seizure in MEIO probe

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
MACC deputy chief commissioner, Datuk Seri Azam Baki, holds up a bundle of US dollar notes totalling US$1.6 million during a news conference in Putrajaya August 30, 2018. — Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 30 — Federal graft busters seized a total of US$6.3 million in US currency (RM26 million) from various locations nationwide while investigating the Malaysian Internal External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) for allegedly siphoning funds meant for the May 9 general election.

Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission Deputy (MACC) Chief Commissioner of Operations Datuk Seri Azam Baki also revealed today that the latest US cash seizure was US$4.07 million (RM16.8 million) when his men arrested a businessman in Kelantan last night.

“We believe a total sum of US$12 million of government funds was allegedly misappropriated and are on the search for the remaining amount.

“We are investigating the source of the funds and how the cash was raised, and how it was brought into the country,” he said at a news conference here.

Azam said some RM900,000 in local currency was found among the US dollar banknotes stashed in the luggage.

He said the cash was seized from several places, including a condominium in Cyberjaya, and several offices connected to the suspects, without specifying their exact locations.

Azam explained the commission had acted because there was suspected abuse of power involving funds under the custody of a government official.

“We took action because the alleged offence was committed using money under the care of a civil servant, which renders it as government funds.

“So, any misappropriation or abuse of power involving those funds we will investigate,” he said.

He did not rule out the possibility investigations could involve 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying it was among the angles being covered by investigators.

The arrest of the 47-year-old businessman brings the total number of suspects in custody to nine people, including a former MEIO director-general and seven officers from the “spy” agency parked under the Prime Minister’s Department.

Azam explained the businessman was a local, with the title of “Datuk”, and held a permanent residency in the United Kingdom.

“We are investigating his role in this case, whether he had a role to play in transporting the cash.

“At this point, we have yet to establish the exact means of the courier that was used to bring in the money,” Azam explained.

He, however, did not reveal the nature of the business that the arrested suspect was involved in, while not ruling out the possibility of more arrests being made by the commission.

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