Monday, December 15, 2008

MalaysiaKini |Family members of the corrupt cannot escape

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 - Family members abetting relatives involved in graft will receive the same punishment as the guilty party as the term family members has been better defined under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said under the Bill, the term family members has been broadened to include spouses, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces and in-laws.

"Under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 (ACA'97), in-laws, nephews and nieces, cousins, uncles and aunts are not included which makes prosecuting them difficult," he said when tabling the Bill for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He explained that the new provisions were included in Clauses 23 and 36 of the Bill and offenders could be jailed not more than 20 years or fined not less than five times the monetary value of the bribe or a minimum of RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The penalty also applies to any foreign public official who abuses his position to accept bribes.

Mohamed Nazri said this came under Clause 22 of the Bill and was something new and in line with Article 16 of the United Nation's Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which was ratified by Malaysia last September.

Besides this, Mohamed Nazri said the Bill also called for the abolishment of the minimum jail sentence contained in ACA '97, set at 14 days.

However, the maximum at 20 years and minimum fine of RM10,000 remains unchanged.

On the same matter, Mohamed Nazri said the Public Service Department had approved the staff strength of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) from the 500 at present to 900 personnel next year.

The ACA personnel would be gradually increased to 5,000 in five years, he said, adding this would help the agency increase efficiency and effectiveness.

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