Malaysian district CID chief among 10 nabbed for illegal logging

Malaysian district CID chief among 10 nabbed for illegal logging

KUALA LUMPUR - A district CID chief is among the 10 suspects detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with illegal logging in Sarawak.

The MACC has also frozen 30 bank accounts in connection with the case, with funds totalling more than RM18mil (S$7mil).

The 35-year-old police officer was detained at about 11.05am in Sibu on Monday, said MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.

He said the police officer, who has been on the force for about nine years, allegedly took bribes totalling RM16,000 since August.

"He is under remand until Saturday," said Mohd Shukri during a press conference at the MACC headquarters here yesterday.

MACC investigators found that RM3,000 was credited to the police officer's account on Aug 24, RM5,000 on Sept 11 and RM8,000 on Oct 20.

They believe the money was an inducement to cover up illegal logging activities in his district.

The operation that netted the police officer was conducted jointly with the police, marine police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Sarawak Forestry Depart-ment and the General Operations Force.

Nine other men detained with him are aged between 28 and 72, comprising general managers, business owners, logging camp managers and shareholders from 10 logging companies.

They are alleged to have given out bribes of between RM300 and RM10,000.

"We froze about 30 bank accounts containing more than RM18mil in total," said Mohd Shukri.

"The operation started on Monday and we focused on Limbang, Sibu, Kuching, Miri and Kapit."

He said the other locations affected by illegal logging included Ulu Baram and Lundu.

"In the past nine months, the Sarawak government has lost about RM43mil to illegal logging," he said, adding that the losses typically amounted to at least RM100mil per year.

The case is being investigated under Section 17(a) and 17(b) of the MACC Act 2009.

It provides for a maximum 20 years in jail and a fine that is five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

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