Malaysia

Customs officer: I was beaten and forced to confess

By Melissa Chi
July 14, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — A Customs officer who was among those arrested in a recent crackdown on corruption in the Customs Department said he was beaten and forced to confess to taking bribes.

Abdul Rahim Abdul Kadir, 41, told a coroner’s inquest into the death of Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed that he was detained by the MACC from April 1 to 5. The two were among those arrested in the swoop.

“The officers raised their voices and snarled at me, and even threatened me so I would confess,” Abdul Rahim said.

He said he was hit on the head during questioning on April 4 and he wasn’t allowed to perform his prayers.

Ahmad Sarbaini, the Selangor Customs assistant director, was found dead after he was believed to have fallen from the pantry on the third floor of the MACC office in Jalan Cochrane here on April 6 and landed on the badminton court on the first floor.

Ahmad Sarbaini had confessed on April 4 to accepting between RM50 and RM100 a month from Schenker Logistics (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd officer Wan Zainal Abidin Wan Zaki as well as between RM30 and RM200 a month from a Top Mark Freight & Shipping Sdn Bhd officer called Ah Seng.

Abdul Rahim told the court that he had diarrhoea and migraine on April 4, and was taken to the clinic.

After that, during questioning an officer had hit him once on the back of the head.

MACC lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah asked the witness to bring a copy of the police report of the alleged beating tomorrow.

Another witness, Mohd Khairul Hisyam Mohd Gazali, 29, also a Customs officer, said he saw Sarbaini on April 2 at 7.30pm.

He said Sarbaini had told him that he was pressured by the MACC to confess that Top Mark had given him RM30 but he did not give in.

Another witness, Siti Sarina Samsudin, 33, also a Customs officer, said she was not threatened, yelled at nor was she mistreated while under the MACC’s custody, although her phone was confiscated.