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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Malaysia charges senior cop with corruption

AOL (1/11/2007): Malaysia's top police official in busting white collar crimes on Thursday found himself charged by the Anti-Corruption Agency for failing to disclose his assets.

The Commercial Crimes Investigation Department head Ramli Yusof, 55, the third highest ranking officer in the force, was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for not declaring two properties worth over a million ringgit (US$286,000) that were bought under his two sisters' names.

He was also charged for failing to disclose 154,000 units of shares he owned in a company. It was not revealed how much those shares are worth.

Ramli, whom the ACA noted as the most senior police officer ever to be charged under Anti-Corruption Act, was also accused of breaching government regulations by serving as a director in a private company while still in government service.

Violations of the act carry a jail term ranging between 14 days and 20 years, and maximum fine of 100,000 ringgit.

Ramli pleaded not guilty to all counts and was released on bail. His trial date was set for Jan. 15.

Ramli's court appearance came a day after he called a press conference to deny media reports that he had amassed 27 million ringgit worth of assets illegally. He claimed he has been victimized by the ACA and criticized his own police force for failing to protect him.

But behind Ramli's case are worrisome developments that threaten efforts to clean up the image of the police force already tainted with accusations of rampant corruption and brutality.

Former police chief Hanif Omar recently wrote in his regular column in the English-language daily Star that police corruption is "so extensive that a very senior ACA officer had confided in me and another top retired police officer that 40 percent of the senior officers could be arrested without further investigations --strictly on the basis of their lifestyles."

Corruption aside, Ramli's press conference laid bare the schism among the top guns of the men in blue.

The Star, in an editorial Thursday, suggested that rifts among members of the police force are due to current police chief Musa Hassan's efforts to clean up the agency.

"Many policemen have found it hard to deal with Musa. He has cracked the whip, declared war against graft and transferred certain senior officials," the newspaper said.

"Still the power play is somewhat scary, if not macabre to most Malaysians who have never witnessed such open tension within the police force. Maybe it's Halloween but the can of worms being opened is disturbing nevertheless." (AP)


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