Four-day remand for three more Johor quarantine and inspection officers in ‘meat cartel’ probe

Johor MACC officers escort the three Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department  officers at the Johor Baru Magistrate’s Court January 19, 2021. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor MACC officers escort the three Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department officers at the Johor Baru Magistrate’s Court January 19, 2021. — Picture by Ben Tan

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JOHOR BARU, Jan 19 — Three more officers with the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) was detained for anti-graft investigations into alleged fraud of frozen meat imports starting today until January 23.

The remand order for the Johor Maqis officers was issued by Assistant Registrar Nur Fathiah Mohd Fedzier at the Johor Baru Magistrate's Court after Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers made the application this morning.

The three suspects are aged 40, 44, and 55.

This is the second time that government officers have been remanded in connection with the so called “meat cartel” scandal. The first involved two Johor Maqis officers on January 7.

The three were arrested when they presented themselves at the Johor MACC office here at 7pm yesterday for questioning.

The case is being investigated under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act 2009.

Johor MACC also arrested a 36-year-old company director here yesterday and was granted a six day-remand order until Saturday.

On January 12, a 55-year-old delivery agent was remanded for five days for alleged involvement in the same activity and was investigated under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009.

Earlier, on January 7, two Johor Maqis officers, aged 27 and 31, were remanded under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act 2009, making it the first time that government agency officials were remanded for the meat cartel probe.

On January 4, a director and three employees of a frozen meat importing company were reportedly remanded here.

MACC in a statement yesterday said the agency has detained eight suspects since January 4 to assist in the investigation of the frozen meat cartel issue, while 27 witnesses, including workers, import agents and government officers, were called to have their statements recorded.

MACC said its investigations were more on the offences under the MACC Act 2009 which are related to accepting bribes, making false claims and document falsification.

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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