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Thursday April 7, 2011

Body of senior Customs officer found in badminton court

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior Selangor Customs officer under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) fell to his death from the third floor of the MACC building in Jalan Cochrane.

Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, 56, a Customs assistant director based in Port Klang, had been released on bail two days ago after being picked up in the commission's investigation into a syndicate laundering billions of ringgit via tax evasion activities.

His body was found sprawled in an open air badminton court located on the first floor of the five-storey building at about 10.20am yesterday.

Ahmad Sarbani had gone to the MACC office here on his own accord. Initial findings revealed he had arrived at the building alone on a motorcycle at 8.26am.

Deadly plunge: Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed is said to have fallen from a third floor window onto a badminton court on the first floor.

He wanted to meet with the investigating officer (IO) in charge of his case, said the commission's director of investigations Datuk Mustafar Ali.

“There was no prior appointment made. At that time, the IO was in a meeting with his officers.

Distraught: Relatives of Ahmad Sarbani comforting each other while his wife (below) sits in silence at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia yesterday

“At about 9.30am, Ahmad Sarbani was brought to a room on the third floor by an officer who told him to wait there as the IO would be meeting him soon,” Mustafar told a press conference yesterday.

He added that the officer then left the room at about 10.15am and when he returned a few minutes later, Ahmad Sarbani was missing.

The officer was then informed that Ahmad Sarbani was found dead in the badminton court.

Mustafar said the police were immediately informed and they arrived shortly and cordoned off the area.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed expressed his condolences to the wife and family of Ahmad Sarbani.

“I, too, am saddened by what has happened. We will conduct a comprehensive internal investigation into the death,” he said.

Abu Kassim said MACC would give its fullest cooperation to the police.

In Kuala Terengganu, Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Mohamed Khalid Yusuf said the department was confident of the ability of the police and the MACC to investigate the matter.

“We will play our part in assisting the victim's family,” he told newsmen at Sultan Mahmud International Airport yesterday.

City chief police officer Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said a special task force had been formed.

The case had been classified as sudden death.

“I urge the public to let us carry out the investigations without any pressure from any quarter,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Selangor Customs director Datuk Azis Yacob, who visited the hospital mortuary last night, said the family would be able to claim the body today for burial at the Kota Damansara Muslim cemetery.

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