Senior Malaysian official and two sons in remand over alleged power abuse, graft and money laundering

One of the suspects believed to be Rural and Regional Development Ministry secretary-general Mohd Arif Ab Rahman (in orange lockup uniform) arriving at the court house in Putrajaya.
One of the suspects believed to be Rural and Regional Development Ministry secretary-general Mohd Arif Ab Rahman (in orange lockup uniform) arriving at the court house in Putrajaya. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A senior Malaysian government official and his two sons were remanded for seven days in a case involving abuse of power, corruption and money laundering.

Rural and Regional Development Ministry Secretary-General Mohd Arif Ab Rahman, 59, and his sons, aged 29 and 34, arrived at the magistrate's court in separate cars on Thursday morning (Jan 5).

Magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim W. Ab. Rahman allowed an application by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib for the three to be remanded for seven days.

On Wednesday, MACC's Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Azam Baki confirmed that the main suspect in the case was Datuk Mohd Arif.

He was nabbed at his home in USJ3, Subang Jaya, on Wednesday morning just as he was about to leave for work.

His two sons were arrested at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya after they were called in for questioning on Wednesday.

Officers who conducted a 12-hour search at Mr Mohd Arif 's house found gold bars, 150 luxury handbags, branded watches and foreign currencies.

The gold bars and Australian and Euro currencies seized were estimated at RM3 million (S$960,495) .

The designer handbags were from brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Prices for some of these bags range between RM7,000 and RM100,000 each.

Datuk Azam said the men were being investigated for abuse of power, corruption and money laundering.

The MACC is said to be investigating whether all of Mr Mohd Arif 's overseas trips and other expenses incurred there were paid for by "certain individuals".

A source said Mr Mohd Arif just returned from a golfing trip to the United States.

"More suspects will be picked up soon to assist in the probe," Mr Azam said.

Mr Mohd Arif was appointed to the ministry post on Oct 16, 2015. He also sits on the board of a government-linked company.

Prior to that, he served as a secretary-general in another ministry and was a deputy secretary-general and state financial officer. He joined the civil service in 1981 as an administrative and diplomatic officer and is a Universiti Malaya graduate.