Malaysia

Sarbaini inquest verdict out on Sept 26

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — The coroner’s court today set September 26 for its verdict in the inquest into the death of Customs officer Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed.

Ahmad Sarbaini, the Selangor Customs assistant director, is believed to have fallen from the third floor pantry of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Jalan Cochrane here on April 6 and landed on the badminton court on the first floor.

Coroner Aizatul Akmal Maharani also set August 25 as the deadline for submissions, and September 12 for the clarification of said submissions.

The inquest, which ran over the course of one month, sat for 12 days and saw 34 witnesses testifying.

Ahmad Sarbaini’s case is seen as high profile as it was the second death involving a person under the MACC’s care.

DNA Crime Unit chief Dr Seah Lay Hong, 53, who is also a forensic scientist, told the court today swabs taken from Ahmad Sarbaini’s T-shirt, socks and shoes had mixed DNA profiles, saying that the foreign DNA was weak and inconclusive.

She said all MACC officers, as well as Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) forensic unit personal, were excluded as the foreign DNA contributors.

She later said the two unknown contributory DNA sources found on Ahmad Sarbaini’s clothing matched the two bodies that were autopsied at HUKM.

Seah said the foreign DNA likely came from the post-mortem table which was not sterilised and decontaminated.

The last witness in the inquest, Cheras police officer ASP Zuhairi Mohamed, 46, told the court he took over the investigation from DSP Sapii Ahmad on April 12 because the latter was admitted into hospital for a week.

Zuhairi said a “sudden death report” was initiated as it was not certain if criminal elements were involved.

He said 57 witnesses were summoned by police to have their statements recorded including 23 MACC officers, 13 Customs officer, 16 civilians, three police officers and one expert, who was Seah.

He said none of the statements said Ahmad Sarbaini was beaten up or threatened.

Zuhairi said Ahmad Sarbaini’s friends had said that he was troubled psychologically after he was arrested.

“Based on my investigation from the witnesses’ statements... I believe the cause of death is that he fell from a height,” he told the court.

He also said that two police reports were lodged by Ahmad Sarbaini’s family at the Kelana Jaya police station and 10 police reports were lodged by Customs officers against the KL MACC following the incident, out of which six investigating papers (IP) were opened, three were referred to existing IPs and one was withdrawn.

MACC lawyer Datuk Seri Shafee Muhamad Shafee Abdullah referred Zuhairi to the police report by Ahmad Sarbaini’s wife over blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s (RPK) allegation.

“I cannot accept what was said in that blog and I don’t know how he had obtained such information,” Zuhairi said.

The blog entry had detailed how MACC officers had asked Ahmad Sarbaini to climb out the window to “reflect on his mistakes”, which then led to his fatal fall.

Zuhairi said the findings from his investigation did not match RPK’s claims.

“No, because none of the statements recorded from the witnesses support Raja Petra’s claims,” he said.

Shafee pointed out that RPK did not mention who had told him about what had happened prior to Ahmad Sarbaini’s death.

“He spoke as if he was there, agree?” Shafee asked, to which Zuhairi agreed.

“In my opinion, the investigation is 90 per cent complete because until now I don’t know why Sarbaini had climbed out the window,” Zuhairi said.

 

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