HODs in govt agencies disregarded more than 500 reports

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More than 500 misconduct reports are gathering dust because some government agencies are not acting on them, according to MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki.

This is despite the commission recommending that the agencies address the issues.

In an interview with News Straits Times, Azam, who said it is standard practice for heads of departments to be alerted about the wrongdoings of their subordinates, revealed that some of these reports date back more than a decade.

Based on statistics, of the 533 reports, the majority concerned the police with 125. Coming in second was the Road Transport Department.

Reports on misconduct also involved the courts, the Prime Minister’s Office, religious authorities, hospitals and health departments, and universities.

However, Azam said the large chunk of reports with regard to the police was understandable given the size of its enforcement personnel.

According to the chief commissioner, since an anti-graft agency was formed in 1967, more than 10,000 reports have been submitted to various heads of government departments.

“Our investigation will first focus on corruption. If we discover elements of misconduct, it is our duty to report them to the HODs. The HODs will then report back to us, confirming that they received the report,” he said.

Following this, Azam explained that a committee consisting of selected HODs, who are assigned to handle such matters, would be formed to look into the report.

“It is this committee that will look into our report. They will decide whether our report has any merit. If not, they can just close the case because it is not a criminal matter.

Miera Zulyana

“Criminal cases will go to court, but cases of misconduct will be reviewed by a committee,” he added.

Pointing out that the Federal Constitution states that HODs can decide on the action to be taken against errant personnel, Azam said a circular on this had been sent out but many HODs choose to ignore the reports.

“That circular has been in place, if I am not mistaken, ever since I joined the service in 1984. It’s been 39 years and I am due for retirement soon.

“HODs should not forget about the circular. Many of them just ignored it (MACC’s report), and we sent letters to remind them.

“They have to take action because it is a circular by the chief secretary, not my circular. We just follow the order,” he added.

Responding to Azam’s remarks, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said his ministry, which oversees the Road Transport Department, would extend its full cooperation.

The minister is also seeking an appointment with the chief commissioner.

“I currently lack any concrete facts on the issue as I only learnt of it through media reports this morning.

“I am now arranging for a meeting as soon as possible with Azam for the details and number of officers under my ministry that may be involved.

Miera Zulyana

“I have also instructed all levels of my ministry from the secretary-general to the head of every department to give their full cooperation in any investigations by MACC,” he was reported as saying.

Loke also vowed that immediate action would be taken in cases where there is sufficient evidence of misconduct.

Likewise, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail also said that his ministry will look into the MACC’s disclosure.

“We will study the report and see where things can be improved, we should not have a denial syndrome over the report and it should not dampen police morale,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama. – Malaysiakini