MACC wants banks, financial institutions to aid war against corruption

Azril Annuar
In her speech, Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya told the International Conference on Financial Crimes and Terrorism that banks remain the ‘first line of defence’. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 ― The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) said today it hopes that banks can directly aid the agency so it can conduct its investigations and gather intelligence to combat corruption and money laundering.

In her speech, Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya told the International Conference on Financial Crimes and Terrorism that banks remain the “first line of defence”.

“On 11th October 2019, MACC via its Anti-Money Laundering Division in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) held its first meeting involving 15 heads of compliance from commercial banks and international banks throughout Malaysia.

“Through this meeting and cooperation, it is hoped that MACC will receive direct assistance  to effectively conduct investigations and intelligence gathering to prevent corruption and money laundering ― both at domestic and international levels,” Latheefa said.

“Also to help MACC expedite the complex investigation and that usually involves various jurisdictions across borders. It is also important for the banking institutions to have a formal and effective platform to prevent such financial crimes,” she added.

The anti-graft agency chief said banks and other financial institutions should place a transaction monitoring system capable of red-flagging suspicious behaviour or transaction patterns on their clients.

She said that there must be enhanced due diligence on high-profile customers, such as high-risk customers, those with beneficial ownership, politically-exposed persons as well as their close relations and associates.

At the same time, she said it is critical that the MACC moves towards intelligence-based investigation as criminals involved in financial crimes have become more sophisticated and the authorities rely on banks, money trails, information and data sharing.

At the same, she said time bank employees must also be adequately trained on modern techniques to identify money laundering activities, and such training should be mandated periodically for all the employees of the bank.

International coordination is also important to enable the relevant agencies to work closely in monitoring money laundering activities.

She then confirmed that the MACC had a few successful prosecutions over the last six to seven years under the Anti Money Laundering Act as a result of its cooperation with BNM but could not disclose further details as some cases are still on trial.

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