Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Teoh's inquest to last 15 days


SHAH ALAM: A total of 77 people, including 28 Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) personnel and several journalists, have been subpoenaed to appear before the inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock which begins today.

Of those, some 40 witnesses have been confirmed to be called before coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas.

Also subpoenaed is Teoh’s fiancee Soh Cher Wei, who confirmed that she was called to appear before the inquest.

Other key witnesses expected to be called are the three pathologists from University Malaya Medical Centre and Tengku Ampuan Rahi- mah Hospital and three chemists who handled Teoh’s case.

Sources familiar with the investigations said three to four security guards are expected to testify today.

Teoh, 30, was found dead on July 16 at Plaza Masalam the morning after he was interviewed for 10 hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The MACC is located on the 14th floor of the building.

Teoh, who is the political secretary to Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was reported to be a witness in the investigation into alleged abuse of constituency development funds by several Selangor Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen.

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the subpoenas were served on the 77 people on Monday.

Azmil Muntapha, who is Shah Alam High Court deputy registrar, is likely to be assisted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Idham Abdul Ghani.

The inquest will go on for 15 days.

Azmil Muntapha has eight years experience as a judicial officer while Idham has been attached to the trial and appeal division for the past five months.

Idham was formerly a deputy public prosecutor in Johor Baru and has more than 10 years’ experience in handling various cases while he was attached to the prosecution unit of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Lawyers Karpal Singh and Gobind Singh Deo will be holding a watching brief for Teoh’s family.

Members of Teoh’s family are expected to be present at the in- quest today.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim meanwhile said the Selangor Government would be represented by lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar to ensure that Teoh’s rights and those of his family as well as government officials testifying at the inquest would be taken care of.

Meanwhile, Gobind said the inquest should be deferred as essential aspects of the investigations were not completed.

He said an inquest should only be held after the police have completed their investigations and failed to find a cause of death.

“A deferment for a short while will benefit all parties to the inquest as there would be time for the exchange of documents. Teoh’s family would also be able to seek a second opinion from experts,” he said.

However, Gobind later said he was prepared to proceed with the inquest if the coroner insists on doing so today.

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