WHAT DOES “CORRUPTION” MEANS?
The Webster Dictionary define it as “The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery;”
“Lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of position of trust for dishonest gain.”
While the definition of the word ‘corrupt’ and ‘corruption’ varied in their uses, they all have negative connotation. In Malay language, the term ‘rasuah’ derives from the Arabic word ‘al-risywah’ and is even mentioned in the Al-Quran as a criminal act.
The MACC Act 2009 itself may not give a definition for the word CORRUPTION, but it alludes at length, to it in:
Part IV – Offences and Penalties
Offence of accepting gratification
Section 16 – Any person who by himself, or by or in conjunction with any other person –
(a) corruptly solicits or receives or agrees to receive for himself or for any other person; or
(b) corruptly gives, promises or offers to any person whether for the benefit of that person or of another person,
any gratification as an inducement to or reward for, or otherwise account of –
(A) any person doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction, actual or propose or likely to take place; or
(B) Any officer of a public body doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter of transaction, actual or propose or likely to take place, in which the public body is concerned,
commits an offence.
MACC, however, clearly specified the act of SOLICITING, GIVING, ACCEPTING OR RECEIVING GRATIFICATION, directly or indirectly, to/from a person in authority either in the form of money, services or valuable goods as an inducement or reward to or not to do an act in relation to the person’s principal affairs; as undertaking the act of corruption.
In fact, the act of BRIBERY, FRAUD, ABUSE OF POWER & MONEY LAUNDERING are all acts of CORRUPTION.
It is to please or to satisfy and gratification may come in the form of money, donation, gift, loan, fee, reward, valuable security, property or interest in property of any description whether movable or immovable, finance benefit, or any other similar advantage as stated in Part I – Preliminary, Section 3, Interpretation of the MACC Act 2009.
ARE THESE OFFERINGS CORRUPT?
These are offerings we present to family and friends where the occasion calls for it and hope they derive pleasure from receiving it. Unfortunately, it is also easily used for gratification to satisfy certain parties in exchange for personal gain. Even if that personal gain is on behalf of a company or any other entities.
These are some of the examples:
- Wedding gifts
- Festival money packets (ang pao)
- Paid holidays, airfare
- College fee funding
- Golf club membership
- Hospitality outings (opera tickets, Formula 1 tickets)
- Entertainment (karaoke, expensive dinners, massages)
- Healthcare reimbursements
- Discounts; house renovation
- Paid expenses (car repairs, stereo systems, appliances)
- Facilitation payments; commission
And the list goes on and on. Yes, all these examples can be forms of corruption with a corrupt intend.
AS THE CASE MAY BE
Mr. A gave an expensive watch worth RM 1,800 to Mr. B for facilitating the approval of a construction project in favour of Mr. A’s company. Mr. A is a contractor while Mr. B is a government officer in the department that awarded the contract.
Corruption is said to have occurred when a person (Mr. A) offers or gives money or gratification to another person (Mr. B) as an inducement or a reward for that person(Mr. B) or another person (Mr. C) to do an act or not to do act in relation to his principals affairs. In such a case, all those persons involve (Mr. A, B, C) are the culprits or offenders involved and therefore are equally guilty of committing a crime of corruption.
Based on the MACC Act 2009, there are mainly four types of corruption offences:
- Solicits or receives gratification
- Promises, gives or offers gratification
- Gives or uses false claims
- Misuse of office or position by an officer
These are instances where each of the four offences were committed:
CASE 1: SOLICITS OR RECEIVES GRATIFICATION
Any person or agent who solicits or receives gratification as an inducement or reward to do or not to do certain act in relation to his principal’s affairs commits an offence under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
The Head of Local Council solicited and received a bribe of RM 385,000 in cash and a golf set valued at RM 2,500 from a contractor for promising the contractor in favour of the approval and facilitating a 10-acre housing development project. He was found guilty of soliciting and receiving gratification and was sentenced to one year of imprisonment with a fine of RM 1.945 million.
CASE 2: GIVES OR USES FALSE CLAIMS
Any person or agent who intend to deceive and mislead the principal with document contains statement which is false or erroneous or defective in any material particular commits an offence under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
A contractor was charged for making false claims for the supply of furnitures to a government department. He was paid fully based on the invoice he submitted claiming that he had supply all the furnitures. He did not supply all the furnitures to the department.
CASE 3: PROMISES, GIVES, OR OFFERS GRATIFICATION
Any person who gives/offers gratification to any public officer as an inducement or a reward to do or not to do any act in relation to the principal’s affairs of the agent/officer commits an offence under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
A contractor gave a gratification of RM 1,500 to a Forestry Managing Officer with the intention to have his application for a permit to be processed speedily. He was found guilty of committing the offence. He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and a fine of RM 25,000.
In cases such as this, there are times when this is a form of systemic corruption, whereby businessmen believe that such payment to the government official is a common practice. Or that the payments may be extorted from the businessmen i.e. he will not obtain a contract or win a tender, if he fails to pay the bribe.
CASE 4: MISUSE OF OFFICE OR POSITION BY AN OFFICER
A public officer who uses his position in making a decision or participate in any actions in respect of any matter where he, his relatives or associates has an interest.
A high level government official used her influence as the Deputy Director of her department to award MT Resources Sdn Bhd the tender of two projects that involved the supply of souvenirs amounting to RM 18,000 and RM 40,000 respectively. It was an obvious act of misused of office or position by an officer since her husband owns the company. She was subsequently charged in May 2008 at the Kuala Lumpur court.
Under the MACC Act 2009, Part IV Offences and Penalties, Section 24 (I), any person who commits and offence under Section 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 and 23 shall on conviction be liable to:
(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years; and
(b) a fine not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence, where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or ten thousand ringgit, whichever is higher.