KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has arrested four officers with the Pahang Land and Mines Department for allegedly accepting bribes related to the controversial bauxite mines in the state.
The commission said that the four individuals — including a senior officer — were suspected of receiving bribes amounting to RM100,000 from an unlicensed bauxite miner.
“The cash bribe was paid for the purpose of protecting the miner’s illegal activities from any enforcement action,” the MACC said in a statement today.
All four officers, aged between 30 and 38, have been remanded a week in the case being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009, which covers the acceptance of gratification.
Aside from the bribery, the MACC said it also discovered the illegal selling of a Form 13D used for mineral transfers, which it said was being sold for up to RM200 despite costing just RM1.
The commission added that it has obtained the necessary details regarding the case and that more arrests were possible.
Yesterday, the MACC said it had uncovered elements of corruption in bauxite mining in Pahang that is currently at the centre of an environmental crisis in the state.
Putrajaya yesterday announced a three-month moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang from January 15, amid concerns over the health and environmental impact of the mining industry for the aluminium ingredient.
The Health Ministry today told residents in areas around Kuantan that was hardest hit by pollution originating from bauxite mining to refrain from consuming fish and water from rivers contaminated by the refining process.
International news wire Reuters reported last month that Malaysia shipped more than 20 million tonnes of bauxite to China in the first 11 months of last year, up nearly 700 per cent on 2014. In 2013, Malaysia reportedly shipped just 162,000 tonnes.