MACC new chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed is right under Section 29(4) of the MACC Act when he announced yesterday that from this year, action will be taken against those who disseminate information to the media on a complaint they have lodged.
However, there is an existing alternative legal avenue for those who still wish to tell the whole world the contents of their corruption complaints. Under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) 1999, it is the duty of police to investigate all complaints lodged to them. After the investigation, police will hand over the investigation papers to MACC if elements of corruption are found in a complaint. CPC does not ban a complainant from “disseminating” information of a police complaint to outsiders.
In fact, the people should just make all complaints which are criminal in nature to the police and this includes corruption cases. It is unfair and redundant to ask the victims or complainants to lodge complaints at various agencies which are located in different places.
Instead of invoking Section 29(4) of MACC Act to prevent those complainants with hidden agendas other than wanting to curb corruption, the authorities can charge them under Section 177 of the Penal Code for furnishing false information on any subject to any public servant as true or under Section 499 of the same Act for criminally defaming the innocents. Both offences if found guilty, are punishable with imprisonment term.
Our law as it stands now allows a complainant of a corruption case to disclose publicly who and what the subject is. At the same time, our law punishes sham complainant with ulterior motive to hurt someone.