KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Senior Customs officer Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed’s fatal fall at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office here five months ago was an accident, the coroner’s court ruled today.
Coroner Aizatul Akmal Maharani also ruled out any element of foul play involved in the father of five’s death, effectively clearing the national graftbusters of blame.
However, he remarked that an MACC officer whom he named as “Kamal”, tasked to look after Ahmad Sarbaini that April 6 morning, had been “cuai (negligent)” when he left the Customs man alone for a few seconds.
Aizatul said those few seconds had likely made a crucial impact on Ahmad Sarbaini’s mind.
Teoh Beng Hock Teoh, a DAP political aide, was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after he was questioned overnight by MACC officers at their then-Selangor headquarters. He was 30.
Aged 56, Ahmad Sarbaini, who had been attached to the Port Klang Customs office, was found dead on a badminton court on the first floor of the MACC building in Cheras here on April 6, after returning to then-spanking new headquarters in Jalan Cochrane, purportedly to amend his previous testimony as a witness.
The inquest into his death, which ran over the course of one month, sat for 12 days and saw 34 witnesses testifying.
A forensic pathology expert from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia who had had supervised the autopsy testified that Ahmad Sarbaini had probably lost his balance while on the narrow ledge outside the MACC building’s third-floor pantry window and fell backwards 10 metres to the badminton court.
A forensics officer had also told the inquest that Ahmad Sarbaini did not commit suicide nor was he murdered. DSP Sharul Othman Mansur said Ahmad Sarbaini tried to jump to the roof of the badminton court but failed and fell to his death.
The Selangor Customs assistant director had been remanded on March 29 following a MACC-led swoop on a Customs syndicate that it said was responsible for at least RM3 billion in unpaid taxes, resulting in the arrest of 62 officers.
But just days ago, several Umno-linked blogs released a sex video in an apparent attempt to tarnish the reputation of Customs officers ahead of today’s verdict.
The video — which appears to have been secretly recorded — shows a Malay man engaging in sex with a Caucasian woman in what looks like a hotel room.
The man in the video is not named, but bloggers had linked the recording, which is titled “Pegawai Kastam Yang Terlampau,” to Ahmad Sarbaini’s death, but furnished nothing of substance to back their claim.
Ahmad Sarbaini is survived by one wife, Maziah Manap, and five children aged between 12 and 27.