KUALA LUMPUR - The smuggling syndicate busted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has bled the country of billions of ringgit in unpaid excise duties.
MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said the syndicate smuggled high-quality liquor and cigarettes out of the duty-free zone in Port Klang.
He added that those involved carried out their transactions in cash.
"They comprised Customs officers right down to the guard at the gate. The MACC officers have also seized RM3milion (S$1.1milion) in cash, 10 luxury cars and a shophouse, while RM6milion in 200 bank accounts have been frozen," he added.
He said the goods were imported from Scotland, Sweden, China, India, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.
"According to our analysis of the Customs and Free Trade Zone forms, the value of goods brought in since 2011 is RM1.67bilion, but only RM420milion worth of goods have been declared leaving the zone," he told a press conference at the MACC headquarters here yesterday.
"This means that the Customs excise duties, including for liquor for the remaining RM1.25bilion, was not paid."
Mohd Shukri said the amount lost didn't include the income tax owed.
"We are still calculating exactly how much that figure is, and we are working with the Inland Revenue Board and the Customs Department on this," he said, adding that a task force comprising more than 200 officers from various agencies had investigated the syndicate for about a year.
He said there were 70 companies which stored their goods at the Free Trade Zone.
Mohd Shukri said the 22 people arrested, aged 36 to 56, had been remanded until Sept 10 to assist in investigations, adding that more arrests might be made soon.
In 2011, 62 Customs officers, including a Datuk and his wife, were detained for siphoning billions of ringgit through tax evasion, money laundering and illegal outflow of funds.