IMMIGRATION
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The Star Online

Four Malaysian immigration officers arrested on suspicion of pocketing US$223,000

Officers allegedly pocket internation passport fees by recording them as free passports being issued to disabled applicants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 1:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 1:53pm

Four immigration officers in the Malaysian state of Selangor were entrusted to receive and process applications for international passports.

Having access to the applicant database, they did much more than their job scope.

The quartet would pocket the RM200 (US$44.69) international passport application fee received over the counter by “converting” the paid applications to that submitted by OKU (disabled) persons, who are entitled to free passports.

The officers had been pocketing large sums this way since 2014, with about RM1 million (US$223,464) siphoned off.

An internal audit exposed the ruse recently.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) raided the Selangor Immigration Department office in Shah Alam and detained the four officers, two of them women.

The four suspects were brought to the Shah Alam magistrate’s court to be remanded for six days.

The investigation is under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009 which involves submission of false claims with intention to deceive.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrests, describing the case as “very serious and warranting a very thorough probe.”

“We do not rule out the possibility that such fraud may also be occurring in other Immigration offices all over the country.

“This is not an isolated case and must be addressed,” he said.

An MACC official said the suspects were believed to be involved in the submission of payment vouchers with falsified information.

“The record is altered to show that the applicant is an OKU when he or she is not,’’ the official added.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said full cooperation had been extended to MACC, and had shared the outcome of its internal audit.

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Immigration audit exposes RM1mil fraud