Thursday, October 15, 2009

MACC man admits telling officers not to probe cause of aide’s death, too


SHAH ALAM: A top-ranking Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer admitted he told his subordinate not to lodge a police report after political aide Teoh Beng Hock was found dead on July 16.

“I told him (investigating officer Mohd Anuar Ismail) that Teoh was not under our control and had been told to go home after his statement was recorded. His body was also not found in the MACC office,” state MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim told the inquest into Teoh’s death.

He said he would have made the police report himself if the incident had occurred in the MACC office.

Teoh, 30, who was the political secretary to Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was summoned to the state MACC office at the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam here on July 15 for questioning over alleged irregularities in the disbursement of state funds.

He was found dead on the building’s fifth floor the following day.

Questioned by counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who is holding a watching brief for Teoh’s family, Hishamuddin admitted he had told his officers not to investigate what may have led to Teoh’s death.

“The MACC’s reputation is on the line and you didn’t care? Is that what you are saying?

“I put it to you that you didn’t want to know what had happened because of the actions of the MACC officers. You are responsible for Teoh’s death,” said Gobind.

Hishamuddin disagreed and when questioned further admitted he had not gone down to where Teoh’s body was found sprawled.

Gobind: Were you not interested in seeing the body?

Hishamuddin: No.

Hishamuddin also testified that witnesses were not allowed to leave at will even if they had come voluntarily.

However, Hishamuddin said they could get permission to go home in the event of an emergency.

Meanwhile, state MACC investigation unit head Hairul Ilham Hamzah testified that he and Mohd Anuar had found Teoh’s cell phone and bag when they went around the office looking for him on July 16.

Gobind: Did you try to contact him?

Hairul Ilham: No.

Gobind: Why not? It was strange that you couldn’t find him.

When Gobind pointed out the MACC had Teoh’s office contact details, Hairul Ilham said it hadn’t occurred him to do so, adding that his mind had gone blank when he heard that Teoh’s body had been found.

Hairul Ilham disagreed with Gobind that he had not called Teoh since he knew what had happened.

Counsel holding a watching brief for the MACC, Datuk Abdul Razak Musa, also tendered Teoh’s two bank account statements as exhibits.