2 years’ jail for CNB officer who conspired to tamper with drug abuser’s urine sample

Abdul Rahman Kadir (left) and Muhammad Zuhairi Zainuri were both convicted in September. PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, ST FILE

SINGAPORE – A Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officer and his former colleague at the agency were given jail sentences on Thursday after they worked together to tamper with the urine sample of a drug abuser deemed to be a difficult subject.

Abdul Rahman Kadir, 46, who is under suspension, was sentenced to two years’ jail.

Muhammad Zuhairi Zainuri, 34, who resigned from CNB in February, was sentenced to one year and 10 months’ jail.

Following a trial, the pair were each convicted in September of one count of engaging in a conspiracy to intentionally obstruct the course of justice.

A third officer linked to the case, Mohamed Hafiz Lan, then 41, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail in August 2020 after he pleaded guilty to a similar charge.

During sentencing on Thursday, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo noted that Abdul Rahman was more culpable than his two accomplices, stressing that he was a team leader at the time.

The judge added that as a team leader, Abdul Rahman could have put a stop to what was happening and ensured that drug abuser Maung Moe Min Oo’s urine sample was properly procured.

As for Zuhairi, Judge Yeo said: “(Zuhairi) actively instigated and/or encouraged the conspiracy.”

In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutors Alan Loh and Thiagesh Sukumaran stated in their submissions that Maung, 32, and a Thai woman were at the Woodlands Checkpoint at around 11pm on Aug 15, 2018, when they were detained for suspected drug consumption.

Maung, who is a Singaporean, knew that he would fail his drug test as he had earlier consumed methamphetamine.

The prosecution said: “As an ex-drug offender who had been sent to a drug rehabilitation centre (DRC) previously, Maung also knew that if his urine again tested positive for illegal drugs, he would be sent to the DRC for a second time.

“Maung feared that if he was sent to the DRC again, his wife would leave him and he would lose custody of his two children.”

While they were in an interview room, Maung asked Abdul Rahman to help him pass an instant urine test (IUT) as he knew that his own urine sample would test positive for methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, Zuhairi left the interview room at 12.17am to speak to Hafiz, and they agreed that they would tamper with Maung’s urine sample by using another sample that would produce a negative IUT result to expedite his departure from the CNB office.

The DPPs told Judge Yeo that Hafiz urinated into a bottle, placed it in a toilet and walked out.

They added that at around 12.45am, Abdul Rahman and Hafiz escorted Maung to the toilet.

According to the prosecutors, Hafiz told Maung to take the bottle containing the officer’s urine.

Maung complied and Abdul Rahman was also present in the toilet at the time, said the DPPs. The trio then exited the toilet together.

Instead of Maung’s urine, Hafiz’s sample was then used to test for drugs.

Maung and the Thai woman later passed the urine tests, and officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority escorted the pair out of the CNB office at around 1.20am. The pair then left for Malaysia.

The offence came to light when a different CNB team detained Maung at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Aug 17, 2018.

The DPPs said: “The conspiracy was subsequently unravelled when Maung explained that Abdul Rahman had helped him pass his previous IUT, which was administered (the day before).”

Maung’s urine was later found to contain traces of methamphetamine and he was detained at a DRC.

On Thursday, Abdul Rahman’s lawyer, Mr Peter Fernando, told the court that his client intended to appeal against his conviction and sentence. He was offered bail of $20,000.

Zuhairi’s lawyer, Mr Anil Balchandani, said that his client intended to do likewise and also asked that he be granted bail.

DPP Loh objected, saying: “(Zuhairi) hardly has any prospect in succeeding in his appeal against his conviction... He has had his chance... (There is) no good reason why he should retain his freedom.”

Mr Balchandani said his client was not a flight risk, and after hearing both sides, Judge Yeo also granted Zuhairi bail of $20,000.

In an earlier statement, CNB said that it would start disciplinary proceedings against Abdul Rahman following his conviction, with a view to dismiss him from service.

“Officers are expected to maintain a high standard of integrity. Officers who break the law will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” it added.

Hafiz was dismissed from the public service in September 2021.

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