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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

MACC detained four high-ranking officials from Zakat Pulau Pinang today to assist in investigations into misappropriation of Muslim alms.




MACC arrested 11 individuals to assist in investigations into misappropriation of zakat funds. — Picture by Opalyn MokMore





GEORGE TOWN, May 9 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detained four high-ranking officials from Zakat Pulau Pinang today to assist in investigations into misappropriation of Muslim alms.

The four, including a Datuk, were remanded today along with seven contractors after all were arrested separately at their offices or homes earlier.

All 11, wearing the MACC’s orange lock-up uniform, were taken to the George Town Court complex at about 3pm today, where Magistrate Mohamad Amin Shahrul Hamid allowed the seven-day remand application.

Penang MACC director Datuk Abdul Aziz Aban later told a press conference at the commission’s headquarters that the 11 were arrested during a special operation called Ops Miskin.

“The 50-year-old Datuk and the three officers were arrested at the Zakat Pulau Pinang office in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam at Central Seberang Perai at about 10.40am today,” he said.

The seven contractors, aged between 41 and 52 years old, were arrested separately at their offices and homes.

“Our initial investigations revealed that they were involved in criminally misappropriating zakat funds worth millions of ringgit,” he said.

He said the group was believed to have been working together to organise social development programmes using zakat funds before splitting the profit.

“The Datuk has been in the highest position in the agency since 1995 and we believe he had also approved annual scholarships for his child without approval from the Penang Islamic Affairs Department,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said the Datuk allegedly received valuables, cash and cheques from various contractors and suppliers as an inducement to award certain projects to them.

“In relation to this, we have also seized two luxury watches and an Apple smartphone while all their bank accounts have been frozen,” he said.

The case will be investigated under Section 17 (a) and Section 17 (b) along with Section 23 of the MACC Act for accepting and giving gratification and using position for gratification.

The sections provide for a jail sentence of not more than 20 years and a fine not less than five times of the total value of the gratification obtained for each offence

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