PUTRAJAYA: About RM5.1bil in assets were forfeited and returned to the Malaysian government last year, with 99.6% of it linked to 1MDB, revealed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner.

Tan Sri Azam Baki said following investigations, 152 cases of property forfeiture were filed in court, of which 121 cases were resolved.

“Some 117 cases were in favour of the prosecutor while four cases were not,” he said at the 2021 MACC Media Awards ceremony held at the anti-graft agency’s headquarters here yesterday.

Azam said the MACC was committed to investigating corruption allegations, even if the amount involved was negligible.

He assured that if there was reasonable cause to show an offence under the MACC’s jurisdiction, an investigation paper would be opened.

“Upon completion of investigation, the matter will be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for further action,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Azam said there had been no indication that the AGC would drop charges against three Mara Corp Sdn Bhd officers accused of abuse of power and mismanagement.

He said the MACC was of the view that there was sufficient grounds to charge the three in court and this had been conveyed to the AGC.

“On our part as investigators, we have already submitted our findings to the AGC.

“We have recommended that several individuals be charged in court over the matter.

“So far, the AGC has not indicated to us that the accused will not be charged. We have completed our investigations and believe that there is enough grounds to charge several individuals,” said Azam.

He was responding to a report claiming that the AGC was expected to drop the charges against the Mara Corp officers.

Earlier this year, the MACC launched a probe on abuse of power claims within Mara Corp involving several officers.

This followed the leak of confidential documents to the public in February, alleging acts of financial misconduct committed by several senior officials.

The MACC then raided several Mara offices in Kuala Lumpur and recorded statements from officers.

In March, Azam expressed confidence that several officers would be charged in court for abuse of power following the conclusion of MACC’s investigations into the case.

He also said more than 90% of graft cases tried in court last year resulted in convictions.

“We managed to achieve a higher conviction rate last year compared to the previous year, which is an impressive feat.

“The international standard for conviction rate of corruption cases is 75%, but we managed 91%,” Azam said.

A key factor contributing to the high conviction rate of graft cases was the establishment of special corruption courts, he pointed out.

“One of the main reasons why we can achieve this is that we have special courts meant to deal with corruption cases. Due to that, cases are sped up while the judges involved are those with clear knowledge of laws related to corruption,” he said.

Azam also said MACC had adopted a more systematic approach in its investigations, which had helped the agency prosecute more efficiently.

“Also, information and tip-offs from the public have helped,” he added.