Thursday, April 7, 2011

Impossible for Sarbani to commit suicide. Much more impossible for Teoh!

Impossible Sarbani would commit suicide, say friends

April 06, 2011
Shocked and grief-stricken colleagues gathered outside the mortuary at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM). — Pic by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Deep in the basement carpark of Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM), shocked relatives and friends grieved silently as the body of Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed lay in the mortuary awaiting an autopsy. They had come to one conclusion upon hearing of his death plunge earlier — that it was impossible for the 56-year-old Customs assistant director to commit suicide over investigations into over a billion ringgit in unpaid taxes across five ports in the country.
In Customs Department uniforms or clad with headscarves, men and women lined the hallway leading to the mortuary, murmuring prayers and talking in hushed tones about the man who was found sprawled on the first floor after falling from the third floor of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building on Jalan Cochrane this morning.
Some were unable to control their grief, with tears seen trickling down their faces.
Sarbani’s family was protective of his wife and five children who were escorted to the mortuary waiting room with their faces covered to avoid photographers from capturing their images. His siblings refused to give any comments to reporters crowding the mortuary.
His childhood friend, Ridzuan Mohamad, told The Malaysian Insider of his disbelief when he received the news of Sarbani’s death today.
“I was close to him and he was very humble. I think the charge against him by MACC is nonsense. If it is true then show the proof. The way they interrogated him was not fair.
“He was just a scapegoat for someone else,” said the 46-year-old former reporter.
Ridzuan also said that it was illogical for him to commit suicide because he had always maintained his innocence.
“Last night he called and told me that he was being investigated by MACC. He told me that he was not scared as he has not done anything wrong.
“He also told me that he was going to send a document tomorrow (today). That was it, to send a document,” he added.
Another close friend, Ashaari Isa, added that Sarbani was very pious and that a man of God would not commit suicide.
“That is what MACC has to say but for those that knew him personally then it was impossible (that he committed suicide).
“His personality and conduct was that of a very religious person,” said the 57-year-old businessman.
Ahmad Sarbani’s widow (in black) is surrounded by family and friends in the mortuary waiting room. — Pic by Jack Ooi
He also dared MACC to explain why the senior Customs officer would commit suicide and requested for the closed-circuit-television footage (CCTV) to be made public. Ashaari, who drove from Sarbani’s village in Perak, angrily denied that suicide was the cause of death.
“Men from our village don’t kill themselves but we kill others,” he said in an emotional outburst.
MACC investigations director Datuk Mustafar Ali earlier told reporters that Sarbani had returned to the MACC building at 8.26am today without an appointment and had requested to meet with the investigation officer.
Sarbani had already given his statement to MACC and was released from custody at 12.30pm on Saturday.
He had been remanded on March 29 following an MACC-led swoop on Customs staff, resulting in the arrests of 62 officers.
“The deceased had asked to meet with the investigation officer but did not say why,” Mustafar said.
The chief investigator said an officer then accompanied the Customs officer to a room in the office before leaving to collect the case file but found him missing when he returned.
Sarbani’s body was later found on the badminton court on the first floor.
Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu arrived later and was seen consoling the dead man’s relatives.
He told reporters that DAP has offered to represent the family but has yet to receive an answer.
Hospital authorities said the autopsy will be conducted at 9pm tonight. Police have yet to say when the body will be released for burial by the family.

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