Malaysia

MACC busts Customs syndicate, says worth billions

PUTRAJAYA, March 29 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said today that it has busted a Customs syndicate responsible for billions of ringgit in tax evasion, money laundering and illegal money outflows after raiding over 100 different premises nationwide yesterday.

Investigations director Datuk Mustafar Ali said the operation yesterday included the arrest of a husband-and-wife duo working for the Customs Department in an east coast state who were caught with hundreds of thousands of ringgit in cash “scattered around their house.”

“This shows that bribery and abuse of power have resulted in billions lost in revenue to the government in terms of taxes and Customs duties,” he said.

Mustafar said the sting was executed simultaneously by a joint task force led by the MACC and the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) across five states, sweeping 84 forwarding agents, a holding company and its 24 subsidiaries along with 25 Customs premises in the dragnet.

“This is one of the biggest joint operations in history by enforcement agencies here,” he said, adding that the task force would continue its investigations including possible raids in the future.

“We can say it is a syndicate as they are all interlinked to each other, agencies, to departments, to individuals concerned and to other parties such as the forwarding agents.

“When goods are imported, the value is under declared, resulting in lower duties. So there is complicity between the importer and the authorities, resulting in billions lost to the government,” Mustafa said.

Although Mustafa confirmed the raid of Selangor DAP executive committee member Ang Leng Kiat in Port Klang yesterday was part of the sting, he denied that any of the raids had anything to do with specific political parties or individuals.

“It was just a coincidence that the said individual was part of the operation. We have planned it for over a month with all the agencies involved,” he said.

Ang, who is also a Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) councillor, was reported to have had 60 boxes of documents confiscated by six MACC officers who arrived at his office at 10am yesterday without prior notice. 

Mustafa also said more than 150 bank accounts have been frozen under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLATFA).

He said the two senior Customs officers were arrested to assist in investigations against various parties for offences under the Customs Act, Income Tax Act, AMLATFA and MACC Act.

The raids were carried out over suspicions of under-declaration of Customs duties, tax evasion, money laundering, illegal remittance of funds overseas and corruption, he said.

The task force, led by the MACC and LHDN, was supported by five other government agencies including Bank Negara.

 

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