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National Financial Crime Centre to be fully operational by June

National Financial Crime Centre to be fully operational by June

PUTRAJAYA (Jan 11): The National Financial Crime Centre (NFCC) is expected to be fully operational by June this year, said National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed today.

He said the GIACC was now in the midst of drafting and scrutinising every detail of the centre before tabling a Bill for the establishment of the NFCC to the Parliament.

The NFCC, which is one of the initiatives under the National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP), will act as a task force whereby all relevant agencies will work from one place and look at the same target criminal activities.

“For example, every year our country records RM8 billion loss due to cigarette and liquor smuggling. For Customs Department, it is only smuggling. But, to smuggle something, the smuggler would have committed bribery, used his mafia gangs, evaded tax, did some company layering and some suspicious bank transactions.

“When we sit with all agencies and bring all this elements together, then we see the real picture of the criminal activities,” he said at a briefing session with media top editors on the NACP at Perdana Putra here today.

The NFCC, will comprise several agencies including the Royal Malaysian Customs, Immigration Department, Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Companies Commission of Malaysia, Inland Revenue Board and Royal Malaysian of Police.

As part of the Bill-drafting process, Abu Kassim said his team would go to Australia and United Kingdom to learn from them on how to draft the law and study their operational model.

“When I went to Washington after the 9/11 incident, the Americans realised that their agencies were working in silos and they established the Washington Target Centre comprising 26 agencies. With everyone sharing information and anticipating potential threats, investigation was more effective.

“Former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail and I have even established a similar task force on smuggling cases and it was proven to be effective.

“But after we left, it was abused and used to target political opponents,” he said, adding the NFCC would not overlap MACC, and would have an oversight committee to give directions on investigations to avoid abuse of power.

On the NACP, Abu Kassim said the ambitious plan, which consists of 115 initiatives, six strategies and six priority areas detailing the Government’s overall efforts to overcome issues of governance, integrity and corruption, would be launched on Jan 29 in Putrajaya.

“Our vision is to create a corruption-free nation, to uphold the rule of law, to improve government efficiency, transparency and accountability based on good governance, and to create a clean business environment.

“The plan comprises some important policies and key elements, including the Pakatan Rakyat Government’s manifesto in fighting corruption. We have seen several countries having similar documents. There is a need for Malaysia to have a structured and documented initiative that acts as the main reference in the journey of fighting corruption,” he added.

The Global Financial Integrity (GFI) Report estimated that Malaysia lost up to US$431 billion (RM1.8 trillion) in illicit outflows between 2005-2014.

As such, Abu Kassim said among the 22 initiatives that need to be given higher priority were efforts to introduce new legislation on governing political funding, including lobbying; to introduce proper asset declaration system for members of administration and Members of Parliament; and to improve the policy or the mechanisms pertaining to the acceptance of gifts, entertainment and payment by members of administration.

When asked if ‘bodek’ (bootlicking) could be considered as an act of corruption, Abu Kassim said: “It depends on what type of ‘bodek’ and whether it involves money or product.”