Graft probe involving Sabah immigration officers widens

Graft probe involving Sabah immigration officers widens
Datuk Mustafar Ali, investigation director of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

KOTA KINABALU: Graft-busters are widening their investigations into an immigration scam here following the arrests of four Pakistanis and seven immigration personnel of the Sabah Immigration department.

The latest arrest was of a 37-year- old senior immigration officer on Thursday. Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) investigators had picked up five of the Immigration department staff - including a woman clerk - from their Lahad Datu office on Monday.

This was followed up by the arrest of four Pakistanis on Wednesday.

The remaining immigration personnel, including the senior officer, were picked up in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday. All have been remanded for a week.

They were suspected of being involved in the sale of long term social visit passes to Pakistanis on the basis of non-existent marriages to locals.

The long-term social visit passes, ranging between three months and five years, were said to have been sold for between RM5,000 (S$1906) and RM 7,500 each.

MACC officers have also arrested a middleman and more arrests are expected.

Sabah MACC director Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim could not be reached for comments

Following the initial Lahad Datu arrests, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is state security council chairman, said late on Thursday that there should not be any compromise on any lack of integrity and unlawfulness among government officers.

He said the state government hoped that firm action would be taken against those involved.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy commissioner Datuk Mustafar Ali said it would request immigration authorities to conduct a review of its standard operating procedure in Sabah to plug loopholes that could lead to corruption.

"Whenever a government agency is involved in such incidents, the commission will revisit the SOP of the department to see if there are opportunities that could lead to such conduct," he said after witnessing the Corporate Integrity Pledge (CIP) oath taking ceremony by Putra World Trade Center senior staff and personnel yesterday.

He said MACC would assist the department in carrying out the review.

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