PETALING JAYA: KUALA Lumpur City Hall seems to be under siege, what with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) going in and out of the council in recent weeks, casting its nets for corrupt officers.
As of today, New Straits Times reported that the anti-graft agency would be hauling up 30 more officers for questioning. There would be a lot of nervous officers wondering if they are the ones who would be grilled.
This followed soon after a Malay daily revealed that a very senior officer with the title of "Datuk Seri" allegedly owned 31 condominium units worth more than RM15.5 million. He had since been arrested and remanded.
NST reported that corrupt practices could be occurring at an “unprecedented” scale at the council as the 30 officers are believed to have been working hand in hand with their superior in getting kickbacks from developers.
Obviously, they were all playing the game of "follow the leader" -- in this instance, do what the boss is doing.
The agency's investigation director Datuk Azam Baki said officers of various ranks were believed to have been milking housing developers forced to deal with DBKL for various approvals to get free condominium units, which were later sold at higher prices.
“Our investigations revealed that no less than 30 City Hall officers obtained condominium units through corrupt ways without making any advance payments.
Yesterday, he told NST that the Datuk Seri, who was supposed to monitor his “downline” officers, was the main cause of the widespread misconduct.
He revealed that some of the were bold enough to contact housing developers to ask for similar deals as their boss had struck, despite not having any working connection with them at all.
“Some of them didn’t even deal directly with these developers, but when they know their bosses is getting something, they, too, want their share.
“It happened because their high-ranking officer was part of the network.”
Azam said developers who had entered into deals with the officers would also face the music.
“We will investigate these developers. We are now identifying the involvement of each and every party in this misconduct,” he said, adding that there were at least three developers involved in the scam.
Azam said MACC hoped to work with the council to plug loopholes in their standard operating procedure (SOP).
“Part of our investigation is to look into the real issue, that is how these people managed to get such deals. “We welcome the mayor’s (Datuk Seri Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz) willingness to cooperate with MACC to look into City Hall’s SOP and the departments’ integrity.”
The mayor has reportedly declined to comment when asked on the possibility that more officers would be arrested by the MACC. “I don’t want to comment. This whole mess has affected the morale of our staff.”
The question that people should be asking is whether such corrupt practices are confined to only DBKL. What about other government agencies and local councils nationwide? MACC should be casting their nets further.
As a first step, everyone who is a civil servant, including politicians and their family members must declare their assets. No excuses should be entertained.