The nation’s top cop today denied receiving any money from family members of the four Sarawakians abducted by militant group Abu Sayyaf.

“Who said the money was with the police? The family said it, I’m denying it.

“There are many individuals, agents who dealt with them.

“Don’t use the Special Branch or the name of the police.

“I reiterate we did not pay any ransom or cooperate on such payments with the abductors,” said Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.

Khalid, who was speaking to reporters at a press conference held at the deputy prime minister’s office here, reiterated over and over again that neither the police nor the government took part in any ransom payment.

He, however, claimed that while the victims were held hostage, various groups and individuals had contacted the police as well as the families offering services to ensure the victims’ release.

While denying claims of someone taking off with the money, Khalid said it was possible that a third party had convinced the family they were with the Special Branch.

He also said third parties in touch with the victims’ family had promised to secure the freedom of the hostages if the ransom was channelled to religious and welfare agencies in South Philippines.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the RM12 million collected was “given to the police Special Branch”, who then channelled the money to a certain Filipino Muslim welfare group instead of the militants.

Zahid refused to identify who the money was given to.

“I don’t know and I don’t want to know,” said Khalid today when pressed if the police knew who had instead received the money.

The RM12 million was earlier reported to have been collected from the public while a portion of it was proceeds from the sale of assets owned by the hostages’ families.

“They (the families) have to tell us who this third party is. They have to lodge a report and we will investigate.”

The four Sarawakians were kidnapped on April 1 and released on June 7.

Source –FMT-

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