A disgruntled policeman's complaint to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) six months ago marked the beginning of an investigation that has resulted in some 60 policemen being probed for money-laundering and corruption.
The anti-graft operation, one of the largest in recent times, was a joint effort by MACC, Bank Negara, the Inland Revenue Department, National Registration Department, Immigration Department and Customs.
A senior MACC official told The Malaysian Insider that all the policemen were based in Kuala Lumpur and they were suspected of collecting bribes from operators of illegal businesses in the capital city.
The businesses ranged from illegal gaming cybercafes to massage parlours and vice dens, the official said.
Depending on the type of business, each operator contributed between RM10,000 and RM50,000 a month to the policemen to avoid being raided and hassled, he added.
The rogue policemen were also very organised with each tasked with collecting the monthly fee within a certain area.
"Once all the fees had been collected, the money will be distributed based on the policemen's seniority and rank with the highest ranked getting the biggest share," said the MACC official.
He revealed that the disgruntled policeman had been part of the group who had been receiving the monthly bribes and heading this group was a senior police officer with a "Datuk" honorific.
The Datuk was recently transferred to the Bukit Aman police secretariat as police checked on his activities.
The MACC official said the disgruntled policeman had become dissatisfied with his monthly payoff.
"He wanted more and when he did not receive any extra, he decided to spill the beans on his colleagues," the MACC official said.
The Datuk was initially called by the MACC, which discovered more than RM6 million stashed away in various accounts.
However, the MACC official told The Malaysian Insider that RM6 million was merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of cash stashed away.
As investigations intensified, MACC seized luxury vehicles, such as Range Rover Evoque (RM400,000), Nissan Skyline (RM388,000), Toyota Vellfire (RM450,000), BMW 7-series (RM800,000)and Mercedes-Benz E-class (RM400,000) from the suspects.
The MACC also discovered the policemen had set up various shell companies, naming their family members and relatives as proxy directors.
The companies used the ill-gotten funds to buy various properties, including shoplots and condominiums.
MACC probed various shell companies and followed the money trail until it led back to the policemen.
Besides properties and luxury vehicles, police also seized a substantial amount of cash, jewellery and gold from some of the policemen.
"Simultaneous raids were conducted at the homes of all the suspects. Thorough background checks were carried out on each and every policeman whose home was raided," the MACC official said.
"Their bank accounts were scrutinised, including transactions over the past few years, all properties in their names or their family members, loans, overseas trips, their monthly and annual expenses and their close friends all came under the microscope."
Declining to elaborate on the types of properties purchased by the policemen using shell companies, the official said the majority of the properties were in the Klang Valley with the value running into tens of millions of ringgit.
"Policemen from Kuala Lumpur who had been transferred elsewhere would continue to receive their share of the bribe to ensure that they kept quiet. Their replacements would be included on the 'payroll' to ensure business as usual."
The official revealed that MACC was in the midst of building up its case against the policemen and the probe was expected to be completed in two weeks.
In the meantime, Bukit Aman is set to announce a massive transfer exercise involving senior police officers. It is unclear whether the transfer exercise is related to the ongoing probe or merely an attempt to divert public attention away from the anti-graft operation. – January 7, 2014.