THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission can still investigate a person for corruption even if that person has been cleared by police of wrongdoing.
A public forum on police accountability in Kuala Lumpur, co-organised by the Bar Council, was told Bukit Aman’s criminal investigation department chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd could still be investigated under MACC Act 2009, which allows for Malaysians to be charged for corruption offences committed abroad.
Lawyer M. Visvanathan, founder of Eliminating Deaths and Abuse In Custody (Edict) corrected Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner Mah Weng Kwai who said during the Q&A session that Malaysia had neither extra territorial jurisdiction nor an extradition treaty with Australia which meant that the alleged wrongdoer was “quite safe” from the law at home.
The MACC Act 2009 provides for extra-territorial jurisdiction to deal with corruption offences committed outside Malaysia by its citizens and permanent residents as though the offences were committed in Malaysia.
Section 66(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which relates to liabilities for corruption offences outside Malaysia reads: “The provisions of this Act shall, in relation to citizens and permanent residents of Malaysia, have effect outside as well as within Malaysia, and when an offence under this Act is committed in any place outside Malaysia by any citizen or permanent resident, he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it was committed at any place within Malaysia.
Sydney Morning Herald reported today Australian police has confiscated A$320,000 (RM972,000) in Wan Ahmad’s account on suspicion of money laundering.h
Wan Ahmad, however, is not fighting to have the money returned. The report said Malaysian police had cleared him after an internal inquiry following an alert from Australia.
SMH quoted Allaudeen Abdul Majid of the Malaysian integrity unit as saying police here had investigated the matter and found the funds to have been lawfully generated from the sale of a house and which were meant for his daughter’s studies in Australia.
Allaudeen said Wan Ahmad had asked a close friend, an Indian national named Seenisirajudeen Mohamad Basith, to handle the funds transfer to his daughter, which was inadvertently done without compliance with Australian laws.
Bar Council member Sivaraj Retinasekharan questioned MACC’s silence on the matter.
“Why hasn’t the police officer reclaimed the money (if the money is from a legitimate source)? The legal costs of doing so isn’t that much, especially when there’s RM1 million to be gained,” he said.
Human rights and criminal lawyer Dinesh Muthal said MACC had “reciprocal powers” and could “investigate how the money got there”.
Money laundering allegations were traditionally investigated under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (Amlatfa), he said.
“Look at money proceeds. They can be traced to the origin and whether the source is illegal,” Dinesh said.
“The way the money is received can be categorised as illegal wrongdoing. But the police appear to have cleared the officer through their internal investigations, so I think that leaves Amlatfa out.”
Today’s forum was entitled “Promoting Greater Police Accountability in Malaysia”.
Also speaking was Bar Council Task force on IPCMC police accountability co-chairman M Ramachelvam, Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy and Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia (Proham) secretary-general Ivy Josiah.
Josiah said police accountability could only be reformed if there was political will.
“There is RM1 million sitting in Australia, belonging to a policeman and nobody is asking the question, ‘How did he get RM1 million on a cop’s salary?’
“As long as the country’s leaders do not to the right thing but are just saying the right thing, then it’s going to be business as usual,” she said. – March 2, 2018.