Friday, April 18, 2008


144 held for accepting RM 1 mil bribes


One hundred and forty-four people have been arrested in the country for accepting bribes amounting to RM 1 million in the first three months of this year. Of the number, 48 have been charged in the court. And between January and March this year, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has seized a total of RM900,000 worth of properties which were believed acquired through corrupt practices. ACA Director General Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan said they were currently in the process of forfeiting the rights of property ownership worth RM700,000 and 357 investigation papers were opened from the 3,834 pieces of information received. “In between the period, a total of 79 people had lodged reports to the ACA,” he told reporters after a dinner in conjunction with a bilateral meeting between the ACA and their Brunei counterparts here on Wednesday. The three-day meeting aims at formulating a move to enable bilateral cooperation to combat corruption. Ahmad Said added that ACA arrested 591 offenders last year, compared to only 430 people in 2000, while cases charged in court also increased from 471 cases in 2000 to 691 cases last year. The 78 per cent conviction rate of cases last year is the highest in the ACA history, compared to only 51 per cent in 2004. ACA also recorded a hike in the number of information received from 11,413 in 2000 to 12,407 last year. Following the reports lodged, the Agency opened 1,365 investigation papers last year, compared to 1,317 in 2006. The Malaysian International Transparency Corruption Perception Index had also gone up to 5.1 per cent last year (43rd spot among 180 countries), which is an improvement compared to only five per cent (44th placing from 163 countries) in 2006. State ACA Director Latifah Mohd Yatim, who was also present, disclosed that 17 people, including four from the professional sector, were arrested by the ACA between January and March this year. Three others were support staff while the rest were members of the public. “We recorded 74 cases in the first three months and most of them were charged under various sections for either giving or accepting bribes. There were some who were charged for abuse of power,” she said. Latifah stressed that the latest cases involved an education officer and a police sergeant. The education officer was charged for 11 corruption cases involving RM105,900, and has at least 10 more pending cases, while the police sergeant was caught red-handed receiving a RM300 bribe from a traffic offender. “In most of the cases, we would be tipped off by the public. Therefore we hope that they would continue to come forward and provide us with information,” she said. Latifah added that the ACA appreciated the public’s cooperation. “This shows they are responsible citizens and would like to fight against corruption. Without them, we would not be able to curb the problem effectively,” she added.


ACA declares war on syndicated crimes


The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has declared war on syndicates that smuggle drugs, pirated video and digital compact discs, including pornographic items and women into the country. Its Director General, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan, said such crime may not exist without corruption or abuse of power by enforcement and private agencies as well as individuals. However, this does not mean that the ACA is pointing fingers at enforcement officers and personnel for practising negative activities. “We believe that the syndicated crimes today involve human trafficking and smuggling of drugs which would affect the community. This also includes illegally bringing in prohibited items such as pornographic VCDs and DVDs, as well as pirated ones. “Such crimes involve corruption and abuse of power. Destroying the environment also involves the two negative things regardless whether they are public, or private sector officers,” he told reporters after a dinner in conjunction with a bilateral meeting between the ACA and their Brunei counterparts here on Wednesday. The three-day meeting aims at formulating a move to enable bilateral cooperation to combat corruption. Also present were Brunei Corruption Agency Senior Assistant Director Ang Swee Kiang, ACA Investigation Director Datuk Shukri Abdull and Sabah ACA Director Latifah Mohd Yatim. Ahmad Said added that through the meeting, they would find a more effective way to improve investigation so that the offenders would not be able to escape when charged in court. “We are beefing up our intelligence as we believe there is a syndicated crime happening. If it does not exist, then how come there are many foreign girls brought into the country to carry out vice activities? “Something is not right. We will be working closely with the Immigration Department, Police, Customs, Rela and other enforcement agencies and get to the bottom of this matter,” he said. Asked on whether ACA is planning to use recording while baiting potential offenders, he said it was not practical as in some cases, the transactions were done at isolated places. “If the transaction is done in the car, how are we going to do it?” he asked. Meanwhile, Ang pointed out that they had been practising the method but on many occasions, the giver and taker were ahead of them. “Normally, they could smell us and would change their transaction venue immediately,” he said.


Be careful in issuing OC, Tribunal urges
Ensure specifications met before giving occupation cert


The Tribunal for Housing Purchaser Claims has advised local authorities to exercise1 care in the issuance of occupation certificate (OC) to housing developers. Tribunal President Hj Ahmad Sedik said OC should only be issued after the local authorities are satisfied that the developers have met all the job specifications as stated in the sales and purchase agreement made with the buyers. Ahmad gave the advice yesterday when delivering his decision on the claims made by Pang Vui Yin and her daughter Voon Pui Sem against Golden Addition Sdn Bhd over the condition of their home at Phase 1, Delta Height in Penampang. He allowed one claim but rejected two others made by the mother and daughter against the developer after deliberating on the details and explanations from both sides. In allowing the claim, he ordered Golden Addition Sdn Bhd to calculate the total cost of the rectifications sought, namely the installation of ceiling to cover the sewage pipe and interior maintenance, in a week to enable him to make a decision. The claimants had stated in their claims that the upper floor sewage pipe was built above their toilet and was leaking at times, which exposes them to health hazard and discomfort. However, the Tribunal rejected their claim for RM3,000 to remodel the window roofing, as the roofing is under common property and the purchasers cannot complain about anything outside their apartment units. Ahmad further explained that the local council had already approved the present state of roofing in 2000 and moreover, the brochure which was printed in 2004 was only an artist’s impression of the project and the developer had also put a small statement to notify the purchasers regarding the matter. The mother and daughter also claimed for RM38,400 for the cost of using other tennis courts after the developer allegedly breached the agreement in not building a tennis court in the housing area for the convenience of the residents. However, the developer explained that a basketball court and a playground were built instead after the consultant architect and the Water Department advised them not to build the tennis court since they had already built a water tank at the tennis court site. Ahmad said the claim was rejected since the matter was subject to change and the developer assured the residents that they will submit a proposal to build a tennis court but outside the housing area. During the hearing, the Tribunal had also called a Technical Assistant from the Penampang District Council, Alexander to explain why they issued an OC even though the develop built the apartments based on the architect drawing and not the MNE drawing, which was already approved by the council. Alexander stated that they had already submitted a query regarding the matter to the developer and he could not give any other answer since he was not the person responsible in issuing the OC to the developer. An engineer from the council who was already transferred to another town was responsible for the matter, he said. The court then called a Senior Engineer from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to ask for his opinion regarding the tennis court and the sewage pipe, and he said the matter has always happened in Sabah housing sector. Ahmad said he hopes all the authorities will take notice of the matter and inspect the property to see whether specifications are fulfilled before issuing an OC.


Abduction: Duo influenced by Hong Kong movie, say police


Two men who abducted and assaulted a 22-year-old Universiti Malaysia Sabah student thinking they were in for a ‘cool’ experience, ended up in hot soup for committing the heinous crime. They were separately arrested by the Police in Keningau in just 48 hours after committing the crime. And initial investigations by the police revealed that the duo’s actions were influenced by a Hong Kong movie in which a group of people had gone out drinking and committed crime afterwards while under the influence of alcohol. Deputy State Police Commissioner Datuk Ab Razak Ab Ghani, who represented State police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rash Mansor for the State Security Work committee meeting here yesterday, said as based on a confession made by the suspect, a 20-year-old Bajau from Kampung Wirasan, Kota Belud, who was detained round noon on Wednesday. He has since remanded. “He had admitted to us that their actions were influenced by a Hong Kong movie. “The student was a random victim but we believe it was a well planned incident. She was walking with a group of friends to church and was just a few steps behind from the rest of the people when they forced her into their car at around 7pm on Tuesday,” he said. It was learnt that the victim and her friends were on their way to a church in Kingfisher to pray as the exams were approaching. While passing through an isolated area, the victim, a second year student, who was at the end of the group, became an easy target to the abductors. “They forced her into the car, a Perodua Kancil, and drove off. It happened in just within a few minutes,” he told reporters after the meeting. Investigations also revealed that the abductors were driving a stolen vehicle that uses a fake plate number. The number belongs to a motorcycle. The second suspect, a 29-year-old local Bruneian, was nabbed along the Keningau-Tambunan Road in his bid to escape by boarding a bus to the State Capital yesterday at around l0am. Ab Razak said that although the case is considered solved with the arrest of both suspects, investigations are continuing, adding that: “We are looking at every possible angle, including whether she was sexually assaulted.” He however stressed that there were obvious signs of beatings on the victim. “There was actually a two-hour delay of relating the incident to the police, we only got to know around 9. l5pm on Tuesday. However we also thanked the public for their cooperation of not protecting the suspects,” he said. In addition, he advised the public to avoid drinking excessively and not to be easily influenced by what is shown in the movies. “When one is under the influence of alcohol, one will be off balance on the good and evil. “The incident itself is a lesson learned. We hope the public would make use of the RakanCop Service or contact the Police Hotline numbers. We will beef up patrols, not just in Kingfisher but other areas with a high density to curb and prevent such crime from happening in the future,” he said. RakanCop is a service provided to enable the public to send information on any kind of crime via short messaging service, and send it to 32728.


7,000 illegal immigrants can be detained at any one time soon


The setting- up of two new temporary detention centres in Sabah and upgrading of the existing ones, would soon allow up to 7,000 illegal immigrants to be held at any one time. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in disclosing this during the State Security Working Committee meeting yesterday, said the two new centres would be set up in Papar and Sandakan, which would be able to accommodate 2,000 and 1,500 illegal immigrants, respectively. “There is an overflow of detainees at the existing detention centers,” he said. Construction on the new ones will start soon and is expected to complete within this year while extension and upgrade works on the Tawau centre will also be implemented, according to him. Musa said the move followed the recent meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi here. With the additional temporary detention’ centres, the authorities hoped to beef up operations to detain illegal immigrants and send them back to their countries of origin, he said. “We are working closely with Wisma Putra to find a more effective way to deport the detainees to their respective countries. “The Indonesian Government has been very cooperative but we do face problems with The Philippine Government in terms of processing documents for their nationals caught in Sabah,” he said. Musa also said that the ‘zero illegaI immigrants’ target is available in Sabah if every agency plays its respective role.


Second suspect captured
Local caught at roadblock as first suspect remanded over UMS student abduction


Police have caught a second suspect trying to escape following the abduction and assault on a 22-year old Universiti Malaysia Sabah student while his accomplice, a 20-year-old from Kota Belud was remanded yesterday for investigations into the crime. The 29-year-old suspect who had fled into the jungles at Kampung Rompon in Tambunan after a high drama chase Wednesday night was fmally caught yesterday and taken to Kota Kinabalu Kota Kinabalu District Police Chief, ACP Ahmad Sofi Haji Zakaria said here yesterday the suspect was arrested at a police roadblock near Tambunan Golf Club at 10. l5am. He said this followed a tip-off from the assistant of the driver of a van that picked up the suspect some ten minutes before his arrest. “The suspect had stopped the van and asked the driver to send him to Tambunan town but only ten minutes along the way the police stopped the van at a roadblock,” Ahmad “The van driver had realised the man is the suspect wanted by police through the photo published in ‘the newspapers today (yesterday). And the van driver just drove his vehicle as usual while ferrying the suspect in his vehicle.” Ahmad said when the van driver saw the police roadblock, he gave a signal to police by flashing his van’s headlight. He said that when the van stopped at the roadblock, police started to check every person in it but the suspect got off and tried to run away. “The police gave chase and successfully apprehended him at the area,” he said. Ahmad thanked the public and media for their cooperation that helped the police in solving the case swiftly. He said the two suspects, both locals, were detained under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code for further investigation, and will be charged under Section 365 of the Penal Code for abduction, which provides seven years jail and a fine. Ahmad Sofi said the second suspect looked haggard and gaunt when he was arrested. He said the UMS student was still deeply traumatized and police were still waiting for a report from the doctor. “The doctor has advised to let the victim calm down. Her physical condition was stable,” he said, adding that the victim’s family has been informed of the incident. Meanwhile, the first suspect was yesterday ordered by the Magistrate’s Court here to be remanded for four days. Magistrate Marlina Ibrahim issued the remand order against the 20-year-old from Kampung Pirasan, Kota Belud following an application by Prosecuting Officer, Chief Inspector Lim Swee Beng. The court heard that police received a report about 9.15 on Tuesday night that a 22-year-old second year Degree in Education student was abducted by two men in a Perodua Kandil car while walking to a church in Taman Kingfisher, Likas. Based on the report, the police managed to arrest the suspect on the following morning after a high speed car chase from Keningau to Kampung Rompon in Tambunan. The driver lost control of the vehicle during the chase, causing it to skid and overturn near the village. But the second suspect from Kampung Tarap, Bongawan managed to evade capture by running into the jungles around Kampung Rompon then.