Lawyer for Sarbaini’s kin: Decision hard to believe
The family of Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed wants more time before commenting officially on the finding of the inquest into his death.
His brother-in-law Mohd Shah Jaafar said Ahmad Sarbaini’s widow was tired today as she had gone to the Tabung Haji.
Masiah @ Maziah Manap (right) and Ahmad Sarbaini were slated to perform the haj this year.
Following Sarbaini’s death, her son will be accompanying her to the Holy Land.
The family’s lawyer, Awtar Singh, in commenting on the finding, said it is hard to believe the late Sarbaini had climbed out of the window to run away.
“Why must he do that? He (went there) on his own free will. Furthermore, there are no visible fingerprints near the window and they did not take the clothing of the MACC KL head of investigations, Mohamad Fauzi (Husin), to conduct a DNA test.”
Awtar said the MACC should be held liable for Sarbaini’s death as it occurred within its premises.
“We are thinking of filing a judicial review but I will await instructions from my client.”
Awtar also pointed out that Sarbaini was not the kind of person to run away as he was a responsible and religious person.
The verdict defies logic, said the lawyer from Perak, from where Sarbaini also came from.
The MACC Kuala Lumpur office, located on Jalan Cochrane, is within a gated compound and is also guarded by security.
‘It does not absolve the MACC’
Social Care Foundation chairperson Robert Phang, who was present, said that, while he respects the coroner’s decision, it does not absolve MACC of blame.
“We have had one incident in (the case of) Teoh (Beng Hock) and again with Ahmad Sarbaini and I feel the authorities should get to the bottom of the matter,” Phang (left) said.
“Abu Kassim (Mohammed), the MACC chief commissioner, should really do some housekeeping to bring it to good repute.There are many good hats as there are bad hats in the MACC. The public is clearly watching closely what is happening.”
The social activist who was formerly a member of the MACC Consultation and Corruption Prevention panel, said justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.
He said Abu Kassim should engage with the public to clear many of the misconception of how the graft commission is run.
Phang falso said those in the chain of command at the Kuala Lumpur MACC office on that day should also be held responsible for Sarbaini’s death, despite the ruling having only found an MACC named Kamal Awang Besar to be negligent for allowing Ahmad Sarbaini to be left alone in the witness room.
Shafee: There’s no foul play
MACC’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the coroner had dismissed any finding of foul play against the graft busting commission as the inquest did not find any element of crime.
Shafee said the coroner finding that MACC officer Kamal was negligent for leaving Ahmad Sarbaini alone in the witness room was something for the MACC to look into, and he noted that Kamal was suspended after the incident.
Sarbaini was found dead after he fell from the third floor of the Kuala Lumpur MACC building on April 6.
He was initially detained for two days and was released on April 4 as part of the ‘Project 3B’ operation on corruption and money laundering conducted by the MACC.
Abang iparnya, Mohd Shah Jaafar berkata balu Ahmad Sarbaini letih hari ini kerana beliau telah pergi ke bangunan Tabung Haji.
Masiah @ Maziah Manap (kiri) dan Ahmad Sarbaini dijadual menunaikan fardu haji tahun ini.
Berikutan kematian Ahmad Sarbaini, anaknya akan mengantikan bapanya ke Tanah Suci.
Mengulas keputusan Mahkamah Koroner, peguam keluarga, Awtar Singh berkata adalah sukar untuk mempercayai bahawa arwah Sarbaini telah memanjat tingkap untuk melarikan diri.
“Mengapa dia perlu berbuat demikian? Dia pergi (ke sana) secara sukarela. Tambahan pula, tidak ada cap jari yang kelihatan di cermin tingkap dan mereka tidak mengambil pakaian ketua penyiasatan SPRM KL, Ahmad Fauzi (Husin), untuk menjalankan ujian DNA.”
Awtar berkata SPRM perlu bertanggungjawab atas kematian itu kerana kejadian berlaku di perkarangan bangunannya.
“Kami sedang memikirkan untuk memfailkan semakan kehakiman, tetapi saya akan menunggu arahan daripada keluarganya.”
Mahkamah Koroner hari ini memutuskan kematian Ahmad Sarbaini, 56, disebabkan nahas kerana terjatuh dari aras tiga bangunan SPRM dengan tidak disengajakan.
Koroner Aizatul Akmal Maharani membuat keputusan itu selepas bersidang selama 13 hari dan memanggil 34 saksi sejak 4 Julai lalu.
Aizatul juga menolak unsur dibunuh dan membunuh diri.
Ahmad Sarbaini ditemui mati di aras satu gelanggang badminton bangunan itu di Jalan Cochrane di Kuala Lumpur pada April lalu.
The coroner’s court in Kuala Lumpur has found that senior customs officer Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed fell from the Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office after being on the ledge of the building.
Coroner Aizatul Akmal Maharani, in his verdict before a packed courtroom today, said the theory that the MACC was involved in his death cannot hold.
“There were no signs of struggle in the incident and the court also dismisses that he committed suicide.”
The coroner, returning a verdict of misadventure, said he believes Ahmad Sarbaini, 56, accidentally fell from the building and was conscious during the fall.
“The court also rules that he died instantly in the fall, and he fell feet first, injuring both feet, and suffering severe head injuries.”
The court also ruled that the deletion of vital CCTV recordings was an error by the MACC security but was not done on purpose as no one knew of Ahmad Sarbaini’s arrival on April 6.
On the issue of foreign DNA, Aizatul said they were found on the deceased’s stocking and arm, but it came from other bodies which were in the mortuary for post mortem at the same time as Ahmad Sarbaini.
Aizatul also said although there fingerprints retrieved, they did not match any of the five MACC officers or the deceased.
“It did not assist me in finding answers regarding the death of the deceased. It only showed that the pantry could be accessed by anybody.”
Aizatul in laying the facts of the case said the deceased had admitted before MACC officer Sheikh Niza Khairy Sheikh Mohamad on April 4 that he received wang ehsan from two logistic companies.
One came from Wan Zainalabidin Wan Zaki (right) of DB Schenker Logistics Bhd.
Ahmad Sarbaini then came again to the MACC office two days later, on April 6, to change his statement and was told that it could only be done if a letter to the MACC was made.
“Sheikh Niza seized his handphone and found (the) Schenker (company’s) number which had to be investigated. He called Wan Zainalabidin to come to the MACC Kuala Lumpur,” said Aizatul in his written judgement.
“The head of MACC Kuala Lumpur’s investigation unit Mohamad Fauzi Hussin asked Ahmad Sarbaini to wait and asked MACC officer Kamal Awang Besar to bring him to the witness room and guard him.
“However, Kamal left Ahmad Sarbaini in the room alone and went to another MACC officer’s room. Upon his return, he found the deceased missing and he panicked.
“He, along with other MACC officers, tried to look for him. MACC officer Henritta Serai Andrew Lenggi saw Ahmad Sarbaini’s body on the badminton court on the 1st floor.”
The coroner ruled that according to testimony Kamal had left Ahmad Sarbaini for five minutes and ruled there were elements of negligence involved in leaving the deceased alone and violating his superior’s directive not to leave, which led to the senior customs officer’s death.
The court found that Ahmad Sarbaini was still conscious as he fell and found that the cause of his death was due of severe head injuries and positional asphyxia due to falling from the third floor of the MACC office and not due to natural causes.
Hell on earth
The coroner found that the deceased came to MACC on his own free will and nobody had invited or directed him to come.
Aizatul also found from the testimony that the deceased had good character and was well respected among his colleagues. However his admission of accepting the wang ehsan (said to be RM200) had affected his thinking.
“This can be seen when he called Wan Zainalabidin to admit his mistake of involving Schenker in the issue. Ahmad Sarbaini said to his friends that he made his statement under duress (terdesak) and he wanted to meet Wan Zainalabidin at a restaurant.
“Wan Zainalabidin did so and described Ahmad Sarbaini was very worried over his admission and resulting in him making a decision to withdraw it. However, the trauma of having spent in the lock-up in Bukit Jalil which he described as “hell on earth” following his earlier detention lingered in his mind.”
Aizatul said Ahmad Sarbaini then returned the money and at that time he was thinking that he might be detained following him wanting to change his statement.
He said the security guard at the MACC also described Ahmad Sarbaini as tense while waiting for Shiekh Niza and his concern escalated further when told he could not change his admission.
“However, the situation became tense when Shiekh Niza seized his handphone and the deceased was seen to be holding his head and shaking it (in disbelief). He may have been stressed when he was asked to wait in the witness room.
“Thinking that the seizure of his handphone and the prospect of him being detained again had resulted in him to worrying about being being in “Hell on earth”. This resulted in him going out of the building in any way possible.”
Aizatul said since Ahmad Sarbaini was in the room alone, he decided to go out of the pantry window where the court believed that the deceased may have suffered an optical illusion thinking that the badminton court was close by.
“It is important that I state here that the court does not agree with the MACC’s counsel that he ran away to meet Wan Zainalabidin to ensure consistency in his statement to the MACC.
“This remains a speculation and is not supported by any facts. I also do not want to touch on the issue of whether or not Ahmad Sarbaini did receive the “wang ehsan” as that would be outside the scope of reference in this court.
“I feel that there is no element of foul play on that fateful day. There is no third party involvement and there is no evidence to suggest there was crime leading to his death,” ruled the coroner.
MACC lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had in his written submission claimed that Ahmad Sarbaini had wanted to meet Wan Zainalabidin to standardise their statement.
This submission was disputed by the deceased widow Masiah @ Maziah Manap and Schenker’s lawyers who replied on that point.
Attorney-General’s Chambers officer Mohd Abazafree Mohd Abbas assisted in the inquest, while the MACC was represented by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Lawyer Awtar Singh represented Ahmad Sarbaini’s family and lawyers Rosli Dahlan and Nadia Marni Mat Zin appeared on a watching brief for multinational DB Schenker (M) Logistics Bhd.
Sarbaini’s widow Masiah@ Maziah Manap (right) and Social Care Foundation chairperson Robert Phang were also present in court.
One of the highlights of the inquest followed the discovery that the MACC’s CCTV was found to be tampered with, as 22 hours of recording – including the period when Ahmad Sarbaini came into the premises – had apparently been deleted.
A total of 34 witnesses testified in the inquest which took 14 days to complete.
The witnesses included two Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia pathologists, Dr Faridah Md Nor and Dr Shahrum Abd Wahid.
Ahmad Sarbaini died after falling down from the third floor of the new Kuala Lumpur MACC office in Jalan Cochrane on April 6.
He was arrested as part of the 3B programme but was later released before returning to the MACC that fateful day.
His friends and family members claimed there was foul play in his death. They said he was a clean officer who had been planning to go on the haj this year with his wife and parents.
Ahmad Sarbaini’s death came in the midst of a royal commission of inquiry into the death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock, with MACC being the focus of attention.
The RCI, in its report, found that Teoh may have committed suicide resulting to his death on July 16, 2009.
VERDICT IN FULL (BM version)