11 December 2020
An immigration officer was today slapped with 17 counts of receiving RM21,500 in bribes to free foreign nationals who had committed immigration-related offences.
Mohd Al-Ridhuan Ahmad Zaini, who was nabbed during a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) sting operation called ‘Ops Selat’, claimed trial to all the charges before Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob.
The 35-year-old was accused of accepting the money through 17 transactions from one Nur Amanina Adnan, via Maybank and CIMB accounts, into the Muamalat Bank account belonging to Entiti Maju Enterprise, a company owned by the accused’s wife Nurul Natasha Andrew.
The bribe was purportedly obtained for himself in exchange for the release of foreign nationals who had committed offences under the Immigration Act.
He was accused of allowing the foreigners to exit the country through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) without taking legal action against them.
He allegedly committed the offences at Jalan Tasik Utama 7, Medan Niaga Tasik Damai, here, between July 25 and Nov 11, this year.
If convicted of the charges framed under Section 24(1) of the MACC Act, Mohd Al-Ridhuan could face a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of five times the value of the offence committed or RM10 000, or whichever is higher.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin sought RM80,000 bail to be imposed on the accused, saying that the charges are serious.
“The manner in which the accused committed the offences as portrayed in the charges against him is the way of a traitor of the country,” he said.
However, Al-Ridhuan’s lawyer, Harcharanjit Singh, pleaded for a reasonable bail amount saying that his client had fully cooperated with the anti-graft agency since the investigations started.
“My client came to court voluntarily today once he received a call that he would be charged.
“He has three children aged between 2 and 7, and his wife has a serious medical condition. She is currently receiving treatment at a hospital,” he said, adding that RM10,000 was a reasonable amount of bail for his client.
The judge then allowed RM30,000 bail in one surety and ordered the accused to surrender his passport to the court. Al-Ridhuan was also ordered to report to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya on the first week of each month until the case is disposed of.
The court also prohibited the accused from going near or disturbing any of the witnesses in the case.
“If there is any official report lodged against you in regards to this case, your bail money will be forfeited,” the judge said.
The case will be up for mention on Jan 21, next year.
It was reported that 65 individuals comprising 39 immigration officers, 17 agents and nine civilians were arrested since Ops Selat was launched earlier this year.
Ops Selat is a special operation conducted with the assistance of the Immigration Department based on intelligence and surveillance at the country’s entry and exit points, especially at KLIA, klia2 and Bangunan Sultan Ismail Johor Baru.