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Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull speaking to reporters in Putrajaya today. NSTP pix by AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR.

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PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) doesn't forbid its officers and staff from befriending anyone, as long as they do not leak information and evidence involving an investigation.

In saying this, its chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said there is no such thing as refraining any of its officers from making friends with people outside the commission especially political figures.

"There is no such thing that we can't make friends with outside people. We can't stop someone from befriending others.

"There are no issues as long as information is not leaked or evidence shared," he said.

Shukri said Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam’s claim that he had 'friends' in the commission who had given him information that Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would be called in to have his statement recorded did not warrant further investigation.

He said this was because that was an open secret.

"The notice was served to Zahid and it was a public document. He could have told his lawyer, wife and his friends about it. There is no confidentiality," he said.

On Monday, former Umno leader Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan had urged the graft busters to view Lokman’s claim seriously that he had “friends” in the MACC.

This was following Lokman's claim that he had information that Zahid would be called by the MACC for questioning at 10am today.

Earlier, Mohd Shukri attended a seminar on 'Gearing Up For Corporate Liability' at the Putrajaya International Convention Center (PICC).

He said the commission will continue to conduct such seminars on corporate liability as there are companies which are still unclear on the provisions of the amendment to the MACC (Amendment) Bill which was passed in Parliament last April.

The bill will introduce Section 17A into the MACC Act 2009.

Under the law, a commercial organisation will be deemed to have commited an offence if any person associated with it commits a corrupt act in order to obtain or retain business or advantage for the commercial organisation.

Under the provision, the offending commercial organisation, its directors, officers and management are liable to a maximum fine of 10 times the sum of gratification involved, or RM1 million, whichever is higher, a maximum jail term of 20 years, or both.

Mohd Shukri said commercial organisations are afraid that the whole board of directors would be held liable even when only a person in the company is corrupt.

"We will not do that. If the individual has been involved in corruption with the knowledge of the board of directors, only then the MACC will take action against them.

"But if only the individual is involved, there are many other provisions such Section 16 of the Act, which can be used,” he said.

He added that the MACC will go all out to explain Section 17A to the public and industry players so that they have a better understanding before the amended act comes into force in two years.

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