Senior Customs officer claims trial to taking $195,000 bribes for illegal liquor transport

SHAH ALAM - A senior Customs officer from the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) is accused of taking bribes to the tune of nearly RM500,000 (S$195,000) on seven occasions by allegedly not inspecting vehicles carrying liquor so as to allow them to avoid paying duty.

Harun Baba, 57, a senior assistant commissioner in the department, claimed trial to the charges that were read to him before Sessions Court judge Datuk Noradidah Ahmad yesterday.

The offences, under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, were allegedly committed at a parking lot of the Armada Hotel in Petaling Jaya in April 2011 and the Customs Free Zone division at PKFZ from April to August this year.

In the first charge, Harun was accused of receiving a RM50,000 bribe at the parking lot from a person, who was not named in the court to protect his identity, as a reward for confirming in the Customs information system that inspection was carried out on a vehicle containing liquor when the inspection did not take place.

Harun was alleged to have received RM68,800 on the second charge, RM46,100 (third charge) and RM109,800 (fourth charge), RM97,000 (fifth charge), RM162,000 (sixth charge) and RM153,000 (seventh charge) from the same person and for the same purpose this year.

DPP Ahmad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, from the MACC, offered bail at RM30,000 for each charge.

Harun, who was unrepresented, said it was impossible for him to post bail because his salary had been frozen along with the bank accounts of his wife and children.

Asked by the judge how much he could post bail, Harun offered between RM50,000 and RM60,000 for all the charges.

Judge Noradidah granted bail at RM100,000 in one surety for all charges and instructed Harun to surrender his passport.

The court fixed Oct 30 for mention.