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Wednesday, 1 July 2020
The case of Haji Mohammad Haikal Bin Haji Suhaili, a 35-year old local man previously employed as a Customs Control Officer was heard again in the Magistrate’s Court in Bandar Seri Begawan for sentencing earlier today.
The Defendant had on 13 June 2020, pleaded guilty to the twenty-seven (27) charges brought against him for multiple offences under section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 131. He had also admitted to having corruptly accepted for himself gratification of money in various sums ranging from B$50.00 to B$500.00 between 2017 and 2018 as an inducement or reward in his capacity as a Customs Control Officer from an individual so as not to take action against him for committing offences under the Customs Order, 2006.
The statement of facts previously submitted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Hafizah binti Ahmad revealed that sometime in 2017 the Defendant had been posted at the Sungai Tujoh Control Post. Amongst his tasks was to inspect vehicles and goods entering into Brunei Darussalam from Miri and to ensure that all goods requiring declarations were declared.
The Defendant had a standing arrangement with said individual for payment in return for assistance with ensuring that unexcisable goods including alcohol and cigarettes were allowed to enter Brunei Darussalam without being declared. Investigations by the Anti-Corruption Bureau also revealed that by the end of 2017, the Defendant was no longer stationed at the Sungai Tujoh Control Post, but the Defendant continued to provide assistance to the said individual with the unexcisable goods at the Sungai Tujoh Control Post by obtaining information for the said individual.
The Honourable Chief Magistrate Pg Masni binti Pg Bahar in her sentencing stated that aggravating factors in this case included the fact that the defendant instigated these criminal activities and also involved other customs officers to participate in his criminal activities and that the defendant was a public servant and any criminal behavior by public servants erodes public trust and public confidence and should be strongly condemned and a deterrent sentence must be imposed to send a clear message to other enforcement agencies that corruption in any form will not be tolerated and warrants a custodial sentence.
The Honourable Magistrate sentenced the defendant to 3 years imprisonment and ordered him to pay a penalty in the sum of B$4912.00 being the amount of gratification the defendant received in his criminal activities; however, the defendant was unable to pay the penalty and was imposed an additional 5 months imprisonment to his sentence. The defendant’s 3 years and 5 months imprisonment is effective from the date of his remand.
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