MACC chief: Blame the purchasing system 

( – It’s the same story every year. The Auditor-General’s (AG) Report is released, the glaring irregularities fill the news and an indignant public demands that the culprits be investigated. 

At this point, the heat begins to rise around the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).  
The MACC has faced strong pressure to open cases highlighed in the AG’s reports, especially after the much-debated 2006 report found that the government had spent RM224 for a screwdriver set worth a mere RM40. 
In 2010, the pressure intensified when the AG reported that the Marine Parks Department had spent astronomical sums for some equipment. Among other things, the department paid RM56,350 for a pair of night vision goggles worth RM1,940 and another RM56,350 for a pair of Bushnell binoculars worth RM2,827. 
That year the MACC opened 36 files on, among other things, non-compliance and falsification of documents involving government agencies.
 As time passed and too few cases were hauled to the Corruption Court, the MACC came under fire for its inability to pursue the culprits. 
However, MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed defends the authority. He said his organization cannot press charges for irregularities that the AG points out if the cases stem from flawed procurement procedures and criminal intent cannot be proven. 
“When five suppliers submit a bid, the company with the lowest overall price will get the contract,” Abu Kassim explained in an interview with 
“But if you really study the list, you’ll find that the company has tremendously inflated the cost of one item – like the screwdrivers – and reduced the cost of the rest.” 
“Yet that company has still offered the lowest overall price. That is the system and I can tell you that (these irregularities) will keep recurring every year,” he said. 
Abu Kassim has advised the government to modify its purchasing procedures by requiring procurement officers to review an itemised checklist and conduct proper market surveys so they could then negotiate prices with their chosen supplier.
“So you see, it’s not because we don’t want to bring them to court, it’s because we can’t,” Abu stressed. “They have followed procedure.” 
He pointed out that the MACC had in fact charged former Deputy Director of Customs, Zameri Ibrahim, with falsifying claims in the purchase of digital cameras.
In the case that was highlighted in the AG’s Report 2011, Zameri was found to have submitted a false invoice to his superior for 40 DSLR cameras at RM9,000 each. 
However, the cameras that were supplied to the Customs Department were prosumer digital cameras valued at RM6,000 each.
“We found an element of fraud and we charged him,” Abu said. “So where there is a clear criminal act, we can charge them. But most of these cases are disciplinary cases, so we can’t go further than that.”