News | Hamzah dodges calls for MACC chief to take garden leave

KUALA LUMPUR: Home minister Hamzah Zainudin dodged calls for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki to be put on garden leave while the agency investigates three of its officers for abuse of power and malpractice.

He told the Dewan Rakyat that police received a report over millions of ringgit which allegedly went missing, leading to the arrest of three MACC officers.

Hamzah said a police enquiry paper had been opened, and assured that it would be classified as a theft case if necessary.

“I assure that any police report received will be probed according to the provisions of the law,” he said in his winding-up speech on the King’s address today.

He also said he had discussed the case with criminal investigation department director Abd Jalil Hassan and urged that investigations be expedited as it was a matter of public interest.

Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong) then asked the minister if he agreed that Azam should go on leave until the case was resolved.

Hamzah replied: “I take note of your proposal. I know many have suggested that this should be done, but let us investigate a little bit more before making any further decisions.”

MACC confirmed on Monday that three of its officers were remanded from Sept 14-19 to assist in investigations into allegations of abuse of power and malpractice, with the anti-graft agency stating that a thorough investigation was under way.

The Edisi Siasat blog had alleged that former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid tried to reclaim US$6 million (RM25.1 million) in cash that was confiscated from a Cyberjaya apartment before she was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in her criminal breach of trust case in April.

According to the blog, Hasanah had claimed that part of the cash was missing and had been replaced with counterfeit notes, and that she had made a report on the matter.

Gobind had previously questioned why the MACC was investigating itself after it arrested the three officers, saying police should be probing the matter instead. -FMT

by Nicholas Chung

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