Local man jailed for bribing customs officer

Fadley Faisal

The Magistrate’s Court yesterday sentenced a 34-year-old local man to three year’s jail after he pleaded guilty to 27 charges of bribing a customs officer.

DPP Nor Hafizah Ahmad revealed in court that in 2017, Reginalo Choong Cheng Jian met a customs officer at the Sungai Tujoh Control Post during which they exchanged phone numbers.

The defendant then contacted the customs officer and informed him of his intention to bring alcohol and cigarettes into the country. He also asked for the customs officer’s assistance in return for some monetary compensation.

The customs officer agreed to the arrangement and turned a blind eye every time the defendant crossed the control post. He would then receive BND5 for each case of alcohol and BND2 for each carton of cigarettes via online bank transfers.

The offences were committed between October 24, 2017 and March 4, 2018, and a total of BND4,912 in bribe money were given to the customs officer over 27 occasions.

“The court strongly agrees that corruption is a very serious offence to the extent that the country established a special independent department in order to counter this kind of offences,” said Magistrate Mohammad Marzuqi bin Sabtu. “Furthermore, corruption could lead to the destruction of a nation. Hence, the matter will not be taken lightly.”

The customs officer, Haji Mohammad Haikal bin Haji Suhaili, was sentenced to three years’ jail by Chief Magistrate Pengiran Masni binti Pengiran Haji Bahar on July 1 after he pleaded guilty to 27 charges of accepting bribes.

The court also ordered him to pay a penalty of BND4,912 or serve an additional five month’s jail in default of payment.