The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has arrested four Pahang land officers, including a senior officer, for asking and accepting bribes from illegal bauxite miners in the state.
MACC investigations director Azam Baki said in a statement today that the case involved more than RM100,000 in bribes.
"A total of RM100,000 in cash was found in a washing machine in the home of a suspect," he said at a press conference today as quoted by China Press .
The four, aged 30 to 38, were alleged to have sold the forms that cost only RM1 each for up to RM200 each so that the operators could transfer the bauxite to the Kuantan Port smoothly, according to Azam.
The forms were sold at RM1 to legal operators when they showed their permits, while the illegal ones paid RM150 to RM200.
"The enforcement officer would only allow the lorry drivers with the forms to continue their journey to Kuantan Port. Without the forms, they have to turn back," he said.
"Some operators only hold the permit for a particular mine, but they extract bauxite from another place. The forms they purchase will ensure smooth passage to the port," he added.
Meanwhile, The Star quoted Azam as saying that the graftbuster expects to make more arrests as it probes the amount of bauxite export royalties paid to the state.
Azam said the RM47.6 million in export royalties should have been five times higher.
The suspects will be remanded for seven days, Azam said as reported by the China Press.
The MACC will complete its probe swiftly and submit its investigation papers to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AG's Chambers) for prosecution, he said.
He also claimed that other enforcement agencies were also involved in the case, but he was unable to reveal the details, as the MACC is still investigating.
Bauxite mining in Pahang picked up in 2014 to satisfy China's demand after Indonesia banned exports of the raw material to encourage local aluminium production.
However, the indiscriminate mining had caused serious pollution in Kuantan, turning its rivers and coastal waters red as well as causing distress to local marine life.