4 remanded in Malaysia's fake halal meat scandal amid graft probe

The syndicate had allegedly been making fake labels and stamps to be pasted on packages of meat not certified to be halal. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU • The director of a frozen meat importer was among four individuals remanded for four days in Johor in connection with a meat cartel scandal which is also being probed for corruption.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director Azmi Alias said the three others in remand are the company's operation director and one of its clerks, as well as the director of a wholesale company.

He said that the MACC is investigating the case under Section 17(b) of the MACC 2009 Act, which carries a fine of five times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000 (S$3,269) whichever is higher, and imprisonment of not more than 20 years upon conviction.

Assistant registrar Nur Izzaty Muhammad Zahari allowed the four suspects, aged between 39 and 50, including one woman, to be remanded starting from yesterday to facilitate MACC's investigation.

News emerged early last month that the authorities had busted a syndicate that had been smuggling meat products from Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina and China, and repackaging them with halal logos.

A raid was carried out at a warehouse in Senai, Johor, where 1,500 tonnes of frozen meat worth RM30 million were seized.

The syndicate, believed to have been operating for years, had allegedly been using the warehouse to make fake labels and stamps to be pasted on packages of meat not certified to be halal.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya said the commission has conducted a series of raids over the past two weeks in its investigation, and import documents dating back to 2015 were seized during the raids.

"Investigators are going through the documents and the companies' accounts to trace their activities.

"We are in the process of determining the mastermind behind the meat cartel and if they had received protection from any enforcement officers," he said yesterday.

The focus of the investigation will be on two aspects, including the offence of submitting false declarations in Customs Form 1 by the importing companies and agents handling the importation process.

Sources said the second focus is on whether the companies had paid any corruption money via their accounts.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2021, with the headline 4 remanded in Malaysia's fake halal meat scandal amid graft probe. Subscribe