Director, sales manager nabbed over alleged kickback

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PETALING JAYA, Jan 20 — IRIS Corporation Bhd executive director Datuk Hamdan Hassan and an international sales manager of the company were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday over allegations of graft and abuse of power involving an e-passport project with the Republic of Guinea.

Hamdan and the other suspect were picked up at Tropicana Indah in Petaling Jaya and Taman Desa in Jalan Kelang Lama respectively in a sting operation called ‘Ops Guinea’.

IRIS Corporation Berhad entered a 15-year contract agreement with the Republic of Guinea in West Africa in 2014. The contract was valued at RM793 million, according to its website.

According to an MACC source, the duo allegedly abused their positions by demanding for bribes from the project.

“The cost of each e-passport was priced at US$46 (RM204.79) and the company was to pay US$23 (RM102.40) from the amount to the government of the African nation,” said the source.

The company also appointed a local partner. Both parties signed an agreement that states US$5 (RM22.24) will be paid to the local partner for each e-passport as a service fee, the source said.

“But before signing the agreement, the Datuk met with the owner of the local partner and requested him to pay US$1 (RM4.45) from the US$5 to the company to ensure the contract of both parties for the e-passport project would not be sabotaged.

“The owner agreed to the request.”

The source added the suspects would ask the owner of the local company to sign letters acknowledging payments made also the money was never channelled to the owner.

Initial investigations found the duo working with IRIS for seven years and had allegedly received some RM500,000 in bribes paid in euros and US dollars.

MACC froze several of Hamdan, his family members’ accounts worth some RM1 million.

Felda Investment Corporation held a 25 per cent stake in IRIS.

MACC investigations director Datuk Simi Abd Ghani confirmed the arrests.

The suspects are expected to be remanded at the Putrajaya magistrate’s court today. 

The arrests of the duo comes barely 24 hours after MACC detained another two individuals for alleged corrupt practices.

On Wednesday, a senior assistant engineer attached to the Public Works Department was held for allegedly receiving bribes in relation to projects in Sik, Kedah. The 56-year-old suspect was picked up from his home in Alor Setar.

Yesterday, MACC recovered RM1.1 million from his home.

A Federal assistant enforcement officer was picked up on Wednesday after he was suspected to have accepted bribes from a rice whole-seller amounting to RM468,000. Investigators found RM10,113 in a safe deposit box in his office and another RM51,100 in the bonet of his car.

The 57-year-old suspect received bribes in gradual amounts from the whole-seller to obtain the Super Tempatan 15 per cent rice quota from the Agricultural and Agro-based Ministry. He was yesterday remanded for six days.

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