[Malaysiakini] Customs officer dies after falling off MACC building
While we are still trying very hard to find the truth of Teoh Beng Hock's death, a Customs officer being investigated by the MACC for graft involving unpaid taxes is believed to have fallen to his death from the 3rd floor of the MACC Building in Jalan Cochrane this morning. Who will be next?
Memory of 16 July 2009 flashes back non-stop in my mind.. I need a room where I can cry out loudly..
~ Hafiz Yatim
A Customs Department officer who had been questioned over suspected involvement in graft and money-laundering, died today after falling off the third floor of the Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building in Jalan Cochrane.
Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, 56, who served as assistant director at the Selangor office of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, had reportedly been released on bail two days ago.
He was among 62 officers arrested in a joint operation in Penang, Johor, Selangor and Pahang by a special task force which comprised the MACC, the Inland Revenue Board, the Customs Department and Bank Negara.
One officer was found to have several million ringgit in his bank account while another had almost RM1 million. Two others had more than RM500,000 each.
The sweeping raid also found gold bars in the house of one officer while another had more than RM600,000 in cash stored in several bags.
At a press conference at the KL MACC headquarters, MACC investigating director Mustafar Ali (wearing jacket) said Ahmad Sarbani was arrested and detained in connection with alleged graft and money-laundering on April 1, 2011 at about 1pm in Klang.
He was detained to assist in investigations, but was released last Saturday at 12.30pm.
"He came to the MACC office in Jalan Cochrane (today) at 8.26am riding a motorcycle, to meet with an investigative officer to discuss the case against him," said Mustafar.
"As the officer was at a meeting, he waited at the lobby at 9.30am."
Mustafar said Ahmad Sarbani was escorted by an officer to his office.
"About 10.15am, the officer left him to find the investigating officer. On his return, Ahmad Sarbani was missing," he said.
Ahmad Sarbani's body was found on the first floor, on a badminton court.
The incident happened "about five minutes after the officer left him".
The MACC Federal Territory headquarters, operational since last December, is a four-storey building.
At the back, on the right side of the building, a broken window can be seen on the third floor.
Mustafar refused to comment on how this would affect the MACC, in the wake of the on-going Teoh Beng Hock royal commission of inquiry.
He also declined to comment on whether the MACC will continue investigating the Customs Department.
Mustafar said they had informed Ahmad Sarbani's family members and the Customs Department management.
"We will let the police investigate the matter for further action," he said.
'Probe must continue'
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abduk Aziz, who appeared shocked when told about the incident, said: "It is unfortunate, we will investigate the matter, how it happened.
"However we must continue investigations (on corruption in the Customs Department) because it is causing the government to lose a lot of money," he said in the Parliament lobby.
Customs Department director-general Mohamed Khalid Yusuf (right) was said to be in shock after receiving the news.
“Yes, (Customs) confirms the incident had occurred. (Mohamad Khalid) was shocked when he heard the report,” said his aide when contacted earlier today.
The aide said the director-general will issue a statement to the press at the Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu tonight.
Mohamed Khalid is in Kuala Terengganu to attend a meeting believed to be over the investigation by the MACC into his department.
Police to form task force
Federal Territory police chief Zulkifli Abdullah said a task force will be formed and told the media to stop speculating.
"We will form a task force headed by Kuala Lumpur CID chief Ku Chin Wah," he said, adding police have classified the case as 'sudden death'.
Zulkifli (right) said police were informed by the MACC about the discovery of the body at 10.42am, and its personnel arrived at the scene seven minutes later.
"We found the body with the face down, sprawled on the badminton court. A hospital assistant was called in verify that the person had died. There were head injuries," he said.
Zulkifli said the body has been sent to the Hospital UKM hospital in Cheras where it will be examined by a pathologist.
"We will investigate the matter from every angle," he said.
Asked if this included foul play, Zulkifli reiterated that all angles will be covered.
The police also refused to comment if there were documents recovered with the body or if any CCTV recordings were recovered.
"All this is still under investigation and it would be improper for us to comment further. Wait for our comments tomorrow. In the meantime, the media should stop speculating," he said.
The Federal Territory MACC headquarters was a beehive of activity with reporters and MACC officers from Putrajaya checking out the situation.
A Police forensic team was also at the premises to retrieve evidence.
Additional reporting by Salhan K Ahmad & Hazlan Zakaria