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Syrian brothers claim trial to bribery charge

02 Mar 2021 / 14:49 H.

ALOR SETAR: Two Syrian brothers today pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here to a charge of offering a bribe of RM10,000 to an Immigration officer in Langkawi in January last year.

The accused, Ali Esmail Hamed, 38, and his brother Alaa Esmail, 35, made the confession after the charge was read to them by an interpreter before Judge Murtazadi Amran.

According to the charge sheet, the two were accused of offering cash of RM10,000 to Langkawi branch Assistant Superintendent of Immigration Mohd Hazwan Othman at Yasmeen Express Restaurant Pantai Chenang at 12.50 am, on Jan 22, 2020.

It was an inducement for Mohd Hazwan not to take legal action against five employees of the restaurant who have been detained under Section 6 (1) (c) and Section 15 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63. Ali is the owner of the restaurant, who is also the chef while Alaa is the manager of the restaurant.

They were jointly charged under Section 17 (b) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which is punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same law and read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code.

If convicted, both of them can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of five times the value of the bribe or RM10,000 or whichever is higher.

The court allowed both of them a bail of RM15,000 in two local sureties each with the additional condition of having to report to the nearest MACC office in the first week of each month until the disposal of the case and to surrender their passports to the court.

However, the court allowed the submission of Ali’s passport, who was married to the Malaysian woman, to the court to be postponed until March 18 for the purpose of resolving his visa application at the Immigration Department on March 14.

The court also set April 8 for mention.

MACC deputy public prosecutor Tan Sew Ping prosecuted while the two brothers were represented by lawyer Kuldeep Singh Gill. — Bernama

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