KUANTAN: The 10 million tonnes of bauxite stockpile seized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can be held up to 18 months.
MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki said that the graftbuster is empowered to keep the seized item as per Section 41(1) of the MACC Act 2009.
The section stated that the Public Prosecutor may apply to the Sessions Court for an order to forfeit the seized property if no prosecution or conviction in court happens within 18 months from the date of the seizure.
Azam was commenting on the confiscation of bauxite stockpile throughout Pahang to facilitate a graft probe linked to illegal mining of the mineral.
In a statement issued yesterday (Aug 12), Azam said the seizure seeks to prevent the bauxite from being moved outside their areas to be sold.
Natural Resources and Environment Ministry in a statement today said that it will not entertain any appeals or requests to interfere with MACC's probe.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry fully supports MACC’s actions in seizing the bauxite stockpile.
This, he said, was for MACC to further facilitate its ongoing investigation into the illegal bauxite mining activities in Pahang.
"The moratorium was imposed by the government to sort out several environmental issues as well as to completely clear the existing stockpiles of bauxite.
"The instruction to clear the existing stockpiles was not adhered to by the owners and operators of the companies who had been granted the special export permits (APs).
"This is despite numerous reminders by the ministry via official contact and through the Press to clear their stockpiles as soon as possible by exporting them," he said.
Meanwhile, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the state government and its agencies must accept MACC's seizure of the bauxite stockpile.
"MACC has its specific reasons (for confiscating the bauxite stockpile).
"They have received information and they decided to solve the problem using this method (seizure)," he said.
Azam on Saturday said MACC had proposed to the NRE to carry out a review on the issuance of Approval Permits (AP) to bauxite mine operators and to revoke all previous APs.