PUTRAJAYA, June 7 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has arrested seven individuals suspected of colluding with a syndicate which smuggled in goods through Port Klang and evaded taxes estimated at RM3.5 billion over the past 10 years.

According to sources, the suspects, comprising three enforcement agency officers, a company director and three company employees, were detained in Ops Transit late yesterday evening at several locations in Port Klang, Selangor.

The two female and five male suspects, aged between 30 and 50, were produced before Putrajaya Magistrate Irza Zulaikah Rohanuddin and ordered to be remanded for three days starting today until June 9.

“This syndicate is believed to have made false declarations on Customs Forms to avoid taxes and import goods requiring import permits from several agencies such as the Energy Commission (ST) and the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (MAQIS).

“The mastermind of this syndicate is a Singaporean who is currently abroad on vacation with his family. Following the arrests, the MACC has frozen nine bank accounts belonging to the companies and individuals involved,” said a source.

Last Wednesday, the MACC and Royal Malaysian Customs Department detained 19 containers containing imported goods with an estimated gross value, including taxes, of around RM10 million.

During an inspection, five containers were opened and found to contain various taxable goods, including LED lights, solar lights and canned processed pork.

All these containers were declared as imported goods, including wheelchairs, textiles and commodes, to avoid taxes.

Meanwhile, MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya, when contacted, confirmed the arrests and said the case is being investigated under Section 17(b) and Section 16(a) of the MACC Act 2009.

He said the MACC will also investigate this case under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001.

He explained that following discussions with Customs director-general Datuk Anis Rizana Mohd Zainudin, cases involving false declarations and other offences under the Customs Act 1967 will be handled by Customs, while the Inland Revenue Board will review all aspects of tax payments by the companies and individuals involved. — Bernama