Sarawakian immigration officers charged with graft

BY SULOK TAWIE
Najib said the reduction would put an additional RM1.5 billion back in the pockets of Malaysians. — Reuters pic

KUCHING, April 10 — Six immigration officers were charged here today with receiving bribes of between RM100 and RM1,000 to allegedly allow undocumented foreign workers into the state.

They pleaded not guilty before Sessions Court Judge Nixion Kennedy Kumbong, who then fixed April 28 for pre-trial management.

The accused were said to have received the cash between late last year and early this year.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) charged them separately under Section 165 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum imprisonment of two years, or a fine, or both upon conviction.

The six — assistant enforcement officer Khairul Nizam Omar, 41, Immigration officers Norhaliza Hussein, 34, Emily Ngayan anak Beliang, 36, Benjamin Morsit, 34, Gracy Bohan, 35, and Agnes James Daim, 42 — were accused of accepting the cash from Fazal Illahi Juma Gul.

The cash was allegedly transferred into their bank accounts.

MACC prosecuting officer Katherine Nais asked the court to release each of the six on RM10,000 cash with two sureties, but Roger Chin, defence counsel for Agnes and Emily, strongly objected to the cash bail.

“There is no reason to impose the cash bail at all because there is no evidence to show that they will not attend the trial later,” he said, adding that both Agnes and Emily are still working with the Immigration Department.

He said when MACC called them last Friday to go to the court to face the charges, they came voluntarily before 9am today.

The judge then fixed RM6,000 court bail for Agnes and RM7,000 for Emily, both with one surety each.

The court also fixed bail for Norhaliza at RM6,000, Benjamin at RM5,000, Khairul Nizam at RM5,000 and Gracy at RM7,000.

On March 15, the MACC arrested 11 Sarawakian immigration officers who allegedly received bribes from a syndicate to turn a blind eye to illegal foreign workers entering the state.

The officers — six of whom are women — were believed to have been paid between RM200 and RM5,000 to not take action against foreign workers who did not possess valid travel documents or work permits.

The commission also confiscated RM10,000 in cash from one of the suspects.