Four Maqis officers, logistics company owner charged in ‘meat cartel’ scandal

·4-min read
The meat cartel scandal has led into the investigation of government agencies as well as a logistics company. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
The meat cartel scandal has led into the investigation of government agencies as well as a logistics company. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

JOHOR BARU, May 23 — Four assistant enforcement officers from the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) and a logistics company owner were charged in the Sessions Court here today in connection with the “meat cartel” scandal.

Today is the first time officers from a government enforcement agency have been charged on suspicion of being involved in corrupt activities related to the scandal.

Maqis assistant enforcement officers Mohd Hafizan Khalid, 44, Nor Azlan Mat Suki, 40 and logistics company owner Abdul Latif A Rahman, 55, claimed trial after they pleaded not guilty when the charges were read before Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Arifin Ismail.

Meanwhile, two other Maqis assistant enforcement officers Mohammad Sofyan Mohd Zin, 27 and Khairul Izat Sulaiman, 31, pleaded guilty to two charges that were read separately against them.

In December 2016, Mohd Hafizan was charged with accepting RM2,500 bribe at a restaurant here from an individual for releasing a container that imported frozen meat belonging to Syarikat ZS Armin Sdn Bhd from a country not recognised by the Malaysian Veterinary Department.

The accused was found guilty under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which is punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same Act, that upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and a fine not less than five times the value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Another accused, Nor Azlan, faces five charges and is alleged to have received RM37,000 in cash between February to March 2017 for the release of 40 containers carrying frozen meat belonging to Syarikat ZS Armin Sdn Bhd from a country not recognised by the Malaysian Veterinary Department.

He was also found to have committed an offence under the same section Mohd Hafizan.

Abdul Latif, on the other hand, faces two charges of submitting false documentation under Syarikat LY Frozen Sdn Bhd between October 5 and November 9 last year at Wisma Kastam, Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) in Gelang Patah. The documentation contained false details for the purpose of misleading authorities.

The accused was found to have committed an offence under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009 and is punishable under Section 24 (2), which upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of false or erroneous particulars or RM10,000, whichever is any higher.

Abdul Latif is also charged under Section 471 of the Penal Code and is punishable under Section 465 of the same Code. If found guilty, the accused can be imprisoned for a period which may be up to two years, or a fine or both.

Both Section 471 and Section 465 deals with fraudulently or dishonestly using any forged documents.

Meanwhile, Khairul Izat and Mohammad Sofyan both pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to report bribes of RM30 and RM100 respectively from Abdul Latif as the delivery agent of QFF Logistic Sdn Bhd to expedite the process of documentation and physical inspection of the consignment.

They were charged with committing the offence at the Maqis office at the Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar (KSAB) in Gelang Patah on October 5 and November 10 last year.

For the offence, both the accused were charged under Section 25 (1) of the MACC Act 2009 which is punishable under Section 25 (2) of the same Act.

If convicted they can be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed for not more than 10 years or both.

Mohd Hafizan was represented by lawyer Mohd Razak Sharif, while Nor Azlan represented by lawyer Peter Tan. Both the accused were allowed bail at RM7,000 each with one surety.

Abdul Latif who was represented by S. Vijaya, was granted bail of RM8,000 with one surety and was ordered to surrender his international passport to the court.

In the same court, Ahmad Kamal also ordered Mohammad Sofyan to appoint a lawyer and allowed him bail of RM5,000 with one surety.

He also set a fine of RM1,500 against Khairul Izat in default of one-month imprisonment. The accused paid the fine.

The cases of Mohd Hafizan Khalid, Nor Azlan, Abdul Latif and Muhammad Sofyan, will be mentioned again on June 29, 2021.

The case was prosecuted by MACC Deputy Public Prosecutors Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin and Suhaili Sapun.

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