Five-day remand for two quarantine and inspection officers in Johor over ‘meat cartel’ probe

Johor MACC officers escorting the two Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) officers at the Johor Baru Magistrate Court January 7, 2021. — Picture courtesy Johor MACC
Johor MACC officers escorting the two Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) officers at the Johor Baru Magistrate Court January 7, 2021. — Picture courtesy Johor MACC

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JOHOR BARU, Jan 7 — The Magistrate’s Court here granted state graftbusters a remand order to hold two Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) officers from today until January 11 for questioning into the alleged fraud of frozen meat imports.

The two officers who are deemed suspects were arrested last night and produced before Assistant Registrar Nur Izzaty Muhammad here this morning for their remand application under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The remand order is to allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe further into the “meat cartel” scandal under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act 2009.

The two Johor Maqis assistant enforcement officers, aged 27 and 31, are the first officers from a government department to be arrested in connection with the scandal.

On December 22 last year, Maqis director-general Saiful Yazan Alwi denied his department’s involvement with the “meat cartel” following allegations of rogue senior officers and pledged to cooperate with the MACC.

Four other people suspected of involvement and previously detained by the MACC were released today as their remand order expired.

The suspects, aged between 30 and 50, comprising two directors and an employee of an importing company, and a director of another importing company, were released after they posted bail of RM10,000 each.

It was reported late last year that the cartel’s activities involved smuggling of frozen meat into the country from slaughterhouses that do not have the required Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) halal certification by a syndicate.

The syndicate is also said to have offered bribes to some government employees, including senior officials of certain agencies as an inducement to pass inspections at the country’s entry points.

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