Clock ticking for MACC ahead of new legal clause targeting corporate corruption

MACC Deputy Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said that currently his officers are still studying and preparing to investigate crimes under the section on corporate corruption. — Bernama pic
MACC Deputy Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said that currently his officers are still studying and preparing to investigate crimes under the section on corporate corruption. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 ― The nation’s graftbusters have just 13 months to familiarise themselves with the Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 ― a clause introduced last year that specially makes companies liable for corrupt acts.

The statutory corporate liability offence was enacted last year and will be enforced in June 2020.

Utusan Malaysia reported that its Deputy Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said that currently his officers are still studying and preparing to investigate crimes under the section on corporate corruption.

“This timeframe is given to commercial organisations as well as MACC itself to understand the law in terms of our capacity.

“Based on my discussion with a few foreign parties, this type of investigations require more commitment because we look at company accounts, forensic accounts and the law among others. So MACC officers must be prepared,” Azam reportedly said.

As part of their preparation, the commission have also engaged the assistance of “certain experts” while training and preparing their officers with the knowledge to conduct corporate investigations.

He promised that there will be improvements for MACC once the law is enforced.

Section 17A provides that a commercial organisation commits an offence if any person associated with it commits a corrupt act in order to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business for the commercial organisation.

At the same time, Azam was aware of the challenges facing the commission in enforcing the Section.

“The main challenge is on the capacity of our officers conducting corporate investigations. Personally, I think corporate investigation is more complex. There are companies that are good at hiding payments they know are bribes.

“They are one step ahead of us. I know their organisations will study this new law and are discussing the loopholes with their legal experts,” said Azam.

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