KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — A graftbuster refused Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed’s request to alter his purported bribery confession, the inquest into the senior Customs officer’s death heard today.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer (IO) Abdul Ghani Ali told the coroner’s court that he also ordered Sarbaini to wait at the KL MACC office in Jalan Cochrane here on April 6, just before the latter was found dead outside the building.
“I told him, ‘I have orders from the top. You cannot change your confession, but you can write a letter to SPRM or me’,” said Ghani, using MACC’s Malay acronym.
MACC assistant superintendent Sheikh Niza Khairy Sheikh Mohamad testified earlier today that Sarbaini admitted to him on April 4 about receiving “goodwill payments” (wang ehsan) from two forwarding agents.
Sheikh Niza said Sarbaini accepted 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.
He added that Sarbaini came to the KL MACC office two days later to change his statement, but did not specify what he wanted to change.
KL MACC investigation unit head Mohd Fauzi Husin has, however, previously testified that according to Sheikh Niza, Sarbaini wanted to retract his confession.
KL MACC assistant superintendent Mohd Rosly Mohd Saupi also testified yesterday that Sarbaini denied on April 2 taking bribes from a Top Mark officer.
Ghani (picture), who has served the national anti-graft authority for three decades, said Sarbaini kept quiet when he told the latter to wait in the MACC office on April 6.
The senior graftbuster said his instructions to forbid Sarbaini from changing his confession and to stay in the office came from Fauzi.
He added that Fauzi also ordered him to call Wan Zainal Abidin to come to the KL MACC headquarters that fateful day, upon which the latter agreed to be there by noon.
Ghani, who was transferred to the MACC headquarters from KL MACC on May 1, stressed that he did not detain Sarbaini, saying: “I considered him a guest.”
Fauzi testified recently, however, that he did not want to release Sarbaini to prevent him from meeting Wan Zainal Abidin.
According to Ghani, Fauzi called Sarbaini’s confession “serious” and said disciplinary action could be taken against the former Selangor Customs assistant director.
“Throughout my career, I think no one has confessed like this before. I’ve never met a suspect who confessed,” said Ghani.