KUCHING: Three suspects who headed a local automobile cooperative are under investigation for alleged abuse of funds under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.
Commercial Crime Investigation Department (Money Laundering) senior assistant commissioner (SAC) Dato Khalil Azlan Chik revealed that the police had frozen and confiscated properties, vehicles and bank accounts totaling RM6,182,355.51 in its investigation codenamed Op Kokas.
He identified the affected cooperative as Koperasi Automobil Kuching Sarawak (Kokas).
“To-date, the freezing and confiscation under AMLATFPUAA 2001 made on the properties of the suspects and associates involved a total of 71 bank accounts (RM2,953,705.51), 16 vehicles of various types (RM763,000), 13 landed properties estimated at RM2,375,000, and jewelries and accessories (RM90,650).
“The monetary trail and investigation of these confiscated properties are still ongoing under Section 4(1) of the AMLATFPUAA 2001,” he told a press conference today.
According to Khalil Azlan, the said cooperative was appointed to receive funds from the government to conduct the Automotive Workshop Modernisation (Atom) Programme and Retail Shop Transformation (Tukar) Programme in Sarawak.
“The funds have been channeled to the cooperative in stages since May 2012 with the total of RM7.5 million. Between 2012 and December 2017, three suspects who were the chairman, secretary and treasurer then, have been found to have misused funds of RM3.4 million, which was supposed to be for the Atom programme.
“On Sept 21, 2018, an investigation under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or agent) of the Penal Code was conducted by the Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Sarawak Police Contingent Headquarters following a Bintawa police report,” he said.
Khalil Azlan further explained that on June 26 this year, an investigation under Section 4(1) of AMLATFPUAA 2001 was launched where 57 individuals and eight entities suspected to be involved in money laundering activities had their assets frozen and confiscated.
“On Aug 22 this year, police teams from AMLA and Commercial Crime Investigation conducted a joint operation on six premises around Kuching belonging to the suspects. In this operation, assets which are suspected to be obtained from illegal sources were seized and confiscated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Superintendent Mustafa Kamal Gani informed that the case will be referred to the AG’s Chambers in Putrajaya on Sept 25 for further instructions.
“We suggested for the suspects to be charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code.
“Under the law, we have a one year period to investigate, then we have to make the decision whether to charge or release,” he said.
He said that all three suspects are in their 50s, while their associates are of various ages, the youngest being 25.
“They are businessmen, not dignitaries or politicians,” he added.