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Only IGP can comment on 1MDB, says retiring CCID chief

Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar is the sole police officer who can comment on the forfeiture civil suits filed against 1MDB by the United States Department of Justice.

Outgoing Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Mortadza Nazarene said this at a press conference today.

"We have different press conferences that we call. The press conference on 1MDB will be solely dealt by my boss, the inspector-general of police.

"So, if you have other issues relating to 1MDB, get the IGP to comment because he will give a press conference on that," Mortadza said.

CCID is the police department entrusted to deal with the findings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 1MDB. It was given the task in April and is carrying out its duties under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which is on criminal breach of trust.

Khalid has declined to comment on the lawsuits filed in the US on July 20, saying that these are civil suits and that the Malaysian police were never consulted.

"If he (Khalid) chooses to remain silent, there must be a reason and when the time comes, he will tell you," said Mortadza, who retires tomorrow, when he turns 60.

"I am not going to debate here about my boss," he said.

14 from 'Highway Group' arrested

The CCID chief went on to reveal that police have arrested a group of 14, dubbed the 'Highway Group', for its involvement in a RM50 million get-rich-quick scheme.

He said most of the 14, aged between 28 and 58, were from the education sector. They included a datuk seri, a datuk and a local artiste, who were arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malacca, Penang, Kelantan and Pahang on July 20.

"The mastermind is the datuk seri and he also comes from an education background," Mortadza said.

A total of 175 police reports have been lodged against the group from as early as February this year, he said, adding that the police later released the artiste and remanded the remaining suspects for a week.

"We may extend their remand as there are 175 reports (for police to look into)," he said.

According to him, six of the suspects were arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act and the rest were detained under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

The group was originally active in Kelantan two years ago and it later expanded its activities nationwide, with most of its victims being teachers and government servants, said Mortadza.

"The investors were promised they would get RM3,000 in return, in a year, for every RM1 they invest," he said in explaining how the scheme was able to attract as many as 500,000 investors.

An accountant who was also arrested had admitted they drew in RM50 million, he said, adding that police did not rule out that the total amount invested in the scam could exceed RM100 million.

"It is known one cannot make money from these get-rich-quick schemes. Thus, I am puzzled as to how they could have attracted so many people to invest in it.

"Well, maybe they have changed their modus operandi, using an icon who has influence in the community," he said.

The group also lured its victims through seminar programmes, Mortadza added.

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