Letter To The Editor
It really puzzles me over the delay in some cases to refund the bail sums to persons who stood as bailor for accused persons who have committed a criminal offence.
Last week, I was at the Counter of the Magistrate’s court Registry in Kota Kinabalu to enquire about the refund of the bail sum whom I stood in as a bailor for one of my friends who had committed an offence under Section 15 of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Much to my surprise, the counter clerk, after checking the file, informed me that the bail sum had already been cancelled and refunded back to the 1st Bailor.
I then informed the counter clerk that I have not received the bail sum of RM1,500 and made further enquires.
To my surprise, the clerk quietly called me outside and said that there is a problem with the bail sums to be refunded as few court staff were involved in cancelling bail and have embezzled the money for themselves.
The counter clerk informed me that a substantial sum was involved and currently the clerk who is responsible for the cancellation of bail sum has been quietly transferred to a different unit.
The counter clerk also informed me that the staff concerned is now paying back the sum taken in installments and I will only be able to get my refund in 3 months time.
I then said that I wanted to see the Registrar but the clerk urged me not to report to anyone or prolong the issue as it will be eventually settled internally.
I enquired whether any police report or MACC report was lodged and to my very surprise, the clerk said no report was lodged as the matter was being settled by the Court Administration.
My question is: If the bail sum is cancelled, the money must be returned to the bailor and cannot be used for the personal interest or gain of the court staff. This is wrong.
I am, in fact, disturbed why no police report or MACC report had been lodged by the Court Administration as the embezzlement involved thousands of Ringgit of public money.
It seems that there is one scandal after another involving court staff in Sabah after the infamous falsification of Late Registration of Birth Certificates which was exposed some time back. It was even reported in the mainstream papers that two court clerks were suspected to be directly involved in hijacking the files of applicants for Late Registration Of Birth Certificates and forging the signatures of the magistrates before submitting them to the National Registration Department to facilitate the issuance of Birth Certificates and Identity Cards. All these are so worrying and I’m losing hope in our system.
Anyway, in my opinion, the embezzlement of public funds by civil servants should not be swept under the carpet. This is mad and cannot be tolerated!
It is a duty of the Head of Department to report the matter to the police or MACC. It is a serious offence committed by the staff concerned if what the counter clerk said to me was true. The same goes to the department heads who covered up the wrong doing of their staff, if true.