Anthony Kevin Morais, a prosecutor in Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission, was abducted and murdered in Kuala Lumpur. After disappearing on September 4, his body was discovered late last week in a barrel of concrete at the bottom of a river.
Mr. Morais was a courageous prosecutor and a beloved lecturer in the International Anti-Corruption Academy. Local media report possible connections between the murder and a recent anti-corruption prosecution.
The news underscores the inherent dangers of anti-corruption work and, tragically, the problems of corruption and violent crime in Malaysia. But there is another side of the story that we should not miss. Mr. Morais’ body was found as a result of effective Malaysian crime enforcement. He had been abducted immediately following an automobile accident.
Closed circuit television captured the accident, which led police to the suspects. Seven individuals were arrested, one of whom brought police to the body.
When a developing country’s enforcement officials uncover egregious graft, we tend to focus on the graft. But we should also recognize the enforcement officials’ effectiveness. Indeed, building Malaysia’s crime enforcement capacity was precisely the cause to which Mr. Morais dedicated, and ultimately sacrificed, his life.
Andy Spalding is a Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog and Associate Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.