Malaysia

MACC ‘victim’ retracted police report out of fear

By Melissa Chi

July 14, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — A Customs officer allegedly beaten by an anti-graft officer retracted his first police report due to fear, the inquest was told today.

“I lodged the (second) police report for my own safety. I was afraid something might happen to me. Please do not investigate,” Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah read the officer’s second report in court.

Abdul Rahim Abdul Kadir, 41, a Customs officer had earlier today told a coroner’s inquest into the death of Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed that when the MACC searched his home on April 1 they did not let him finish his prayers and on April 4 he was hit while under custody. He was detained between April 1 till April 5.

His initial police report was made on April 5, immediately after his release, and two days later he lodged a retraction asking police to stop their investigation.

Abdul Rahim was among those arrested in the crackdown of corruption inside the Customs department, attesting he was beaten and coerced to confess.

During the incident of April 4, he was escorted to a lower level for finger-printing, as he was about to pass a door an officer hit the back of his head with his hand.

Shafee asked how hard was the hit and if he could have fainted from it.

“No, but it was hard. I can feel the vibrations,” he said.

The witness said the officer could have hit him because he was unwilling to confess to accepting bribes.

“If Anwar can take an oath, why can’t you? He said to me, to which I replied you don’t even pray, don’t talk to me about religion,” Abdul Rahim relayed the brief exchange he had with the officer before he hit him.

Shafee continued to grill the witness and asked why he ended up retracting his first police report.

“I did that because the Customs headquarters had said that I made report because of influence from the Opposition,” he said, to which he denied.

When grilled by the MACC lawyer, Abdul Rahim later clarified that the Customs director-general had said to those who were arrested, not to him specifically, that someone among the group had made a police report influenced by the Opposition.

Abdul Rahim admitted that at least four others had lodged police reports as well.

The witness said he felt threatened and was afraid that the officer will seek revenge if actions were taken against him.

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.

The inquest continues tomorrow.