KUALA LUMPUR - THE men in blue have been left red-faced after discovering that they were cheated into paying RM5 million (S$2.2 million) for imitation spare parts for police patrol cars and police vehicles.
The police use mostly Proton and Perodua vehicles as patrol cars in a fleet of 21,000 vehicles nationwide.
The scam was uncovered when a police logistics officer, suspecting something amiss, sent more than 90 spare parts to Proton headquarters for verification.
After checking, Proton confirmed that at least 70 of the parts were imitation products.
It is not clear whether this is the first time such a situation has been uncovered. The police are now looking into whether there have been similar cases in the past.
They are also investigating whether a vehicle spare-parts supplier engaged by the Internal Security Ministry has been trying to pass off imitation parts as genuine.
The Proton parts were to be used in patrol cars and other police vehicles under the Logistics Department.
Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan was unhappy about the incident and had ordered a full investigation into the matter, said the Logistics Department's deputy director, Deputy Commissioner Mahsuri Zainal.
He said the police chief had ordered that those involved be dealt with severely. In addition, Tan Sri Musa also wanted a thorough review of all police purchases.
'We want to know how long these activities (cheating) have been going on and if any police officer or personnel are involved,' Deputy Commissioner Mahsuri said.
He confirmed that an officer had lodged a report about the spare-parts case last month.
Sources say the federal Commercial Crimes Department has started a probe.
The case has been classified as cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code.
The investigations will also cover previous spare-parts consignments ordered by the Logistics Department to determine whether there had been cheating.
Government departments usually buy their supplies and spare parts through companies that act as middlemen.
The spare-parts scam was discovered at a time when the police are planning to expand their patrol car fleet, especially in Johor, to raise their presence in the hope of deterring crime.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK