Anti-Financial Crime Centre Bill tabled in Parliament

pic by BERNAMA

THE National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) Bill 2019 was tabled for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, paving the way for the creation of a central agency to combat financial crimes.

The centre will act as a principal body that will coordinate the efforts of 12 enforcement agencies in tackling crimes linked to illegal outflows of money from the country.

These agencies include the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s (PM) Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong (picture) said the NAFCC will allow for better handling of inter-agency criminal cases such as cigarette smuggling, which would also have elements of bribery, tax evasion and dubious transactions.

“The centre is not a new prosecuting agency, nor will it erode the powers of existing enforcement bodies,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby after tabling the bill.

Financial crimes in the country are still under control and have yet to reach the “red zone”, Liew added.

The second reading of the bill is expected in the current session of Parliament.

The NAFCC will coordinate integrated operations relating to financial crime among government entities and enforcement agencies, and the management of a centralised data system.

It is one of the initiatives under the National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 launched by PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in January this year.

The body will be made up of an advisory board headed by a chairman, DG and five members appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the PM.

The appointments will be for a period not exceeding three years with eligibility for reappointment upon the expiry of their term.

The advisory board will help advice the PM on any aspect related to financial crimes, including making recommendations on related matters.

The proposed law states that the NAFCC will have no prosecution power for an offence under the Act, except with the written consent of the attorney general.

The centre, however, has the capacity to order any person who has any relevant document or is capable of giving any information relating to financial crime.

In explaining the drafting process of the bill, National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre DG Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed told Utusan Malaysia earlier this year that his team went to Australia and the UK to study their operational models.