Kedah MBI senior officer, company director detained to assist in REE mining probe

19 Jul 2023 07:52pm
KUALA LUMPUR - A senior officer of the Kedah Menteri Besar Inc (MBI) and a woman director of a company were arrested to assist in investigations in connection with corruption and abuse of power in the rare earth elements (REE) mining activities in the state, allegedly involving bribes totalling more than RM13 million.

According to a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) source, the suspects, aged 63 and 40, are being remanded for three days until Friday (July 21), after being arrested late last night in Alor Setar and Kuala Lumpur.

The remand order was issued by Magistrate Wan Shahida Abd Rahim at the Alor Setar Magistrate's Court and Norsyakirah Magistrate Che Hashim at the Shah Alam Magistrate's Court.

The company is believed to have carried out illegal mining activities since 2020 and received protection from certain authorities, said the source.

"Investigations revealed several payments suspected as bribes amounting to more than RM13 million given by the company involved as kickbacks to protect the activities between 2020 and 2023," the source told Bernama, here today.

The source said the company owned by the woman allegedly received approval in 2016 to carry out a timber latex clone (TLC) project in two compartments in the state.

"Besides that, the same company has also applied to the Kedah government to conduct REE mining activities in the same compartments in 2020," according to the source, adding that so far, the state government has not approved the company’s application.

Meanwhile, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki confirmed the detainment, adding that the case is being investigated under Sections 17 and 23 of the MACC Act 2009. - BERNAMA

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