Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great flaw of TBH RCI report – failure to affix responsibility for TBH’s death on MACC despite evidence galore

Great flaw of TBH RCI report – failure to affix responsibility for TBH’s death on MACC despite evidence galore

-Lim Kit Siang
Aug 10, 2011

A great flaw of the Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report is its failure to affix responsibility for Beng Hock’s death on the MACC although there were evidence galore before the RCI proceedings.

It was not just persons, namely various MACC officers led by Hishammuddin Hashim the then Selangor MACC Deputy Director and the “mastermind” of the illegal and massive 33-officer MACC “operation”, who must bear responsibility for Beng Hock’s death but also the institution of MACC as well.

The RCI report only made oblique references to the MACC’s role and responsibility for Beng Hock’s death without going for the jugular to pinpoint directly to MACC’s liability and responsibility.

This is most unsatisfactory and an abdication of responsibility of the TBH RCI on its specific term of reference “to enquire into the death of Teoh Beng Hock and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death”.

For instance, Para 336 of the TBH RCI said: “336: We are of the view that the death of TBH should not be in vain and all attempts should be made to improve the functioning of the MACC and the administration of criminal justice in the country as a result of our inquiry into the workings of the MACC. The evidence adduced showed that the MACC officers were prepared to go to great lengths to lie.”

The scandal of Beng Hock’s tragic death at the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 is not just MACC officers “were prepared to go to great lengths to lie” but the MACC as an institution which went to great lengths to participate in a conspiracy of silence and lies to pervert the course of justice to “cover up” the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death.

The TBH RCI pinpointed Hishammuddin Hashim as “the seniormost officer who was in overall command of the operation” who was “clearly accountable” for what transpired to TBH at the Selangor MACC – causing his death.

But at present, Hishammuddin has remained scotfree as full-fledged senior MACC officer who has merely been taken off investigation duties when he and other MACC officers should be charged for causing Beng Hock’s death.

Beng Hock’s death would be “in vain” if firstly, his killers remain free and unpunished; and secondly, the MACC is not held responsible and liable for his death and instead allowed to “go to great lengths” to participate in a “cover-up” of the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death at the TBH RCI, with MACC officers telling “lies after lies” at the RCI.

When there should be condemnatory strictures, the TBH RCI merely observed weakly that instead of “being impartial in assisting us to arrive at the truth of what happened to TBH on that fateful night of the 15th and early morning of the 16th”, MACC took sides with the MACC Counsel Datuk Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah defending the MACC officers called to testify.

The Bar Council, in its submission to the TBH RCI which was made public last Friday, was more direct and straightforward in its criticism of the MACC’s role at the royal commission of inquiry. It said:

“One would have expected the MACC to have led the charge in this inquiry to ascertain the truth and thereby restore its credibility. Instead, it failed to draw a distinction between itself and the officers, and chose to align itself with its officers who may have been involved, responsible and/or privy to the cause of death of Teoh Beng Hock. The absence of separate representation is telling. MACC as a whole chose to defend the actions of its officers rather than assist in the investigation. The MACC adopted the posture of a defendant throughout the course of this inquiry.

“The Commission has had to deal with witnesses primarily from MACC who have either been evasive, misleading and/or lied. It has also been shown that the MACC had suppressed, tampered with and destroyed evidence.

“In the circumstances, it has been a difficult task to piece together the evidence to establish what actually transpired at Plaza Masalam leading to Teoh Beng Hock’s death.”

Why did the TBH RCI shirk from its responsibility to censure the MACC for its role at the RCI which “suppressed, tampered with and destroyed evidence”, frustrating and perverting the course of justice at the TBH RCI to find out the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death?

The Bar Council in its submission said the RCI provided “classic evidence of the saying that an institution is only as good as its people.” It continued:

“ It is important that the officers of MACC tasked with preventing, detecting and eradicating corruption possess the qualities of integrity, independence and intelligence, what may be conveniently referred to as the three “I”s.

“Whilst the Commissioners have recognised that MACC as an institution must be preserved and its image, reputation and functioning enhanced, it must also be recognised that this can only be brought about if the people entrusted with the powers of the institution were brought to task for abuse.”

The TBH RCI has ended without MACC and MACC officers being held to task for their ultimate abuse – causing Beng Hock’s death while under the control, care and custody of MACC!

The Bar Council rightly lamented that the “golden opportunity” was missed by the RCI to examine why the MACC is “world’s apart in terms of repute, public perception and functioning” from Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – when MACC is supposed to be modelled after the ICAC!

Asking what “a full and thorough investigation” into TBH’s death would reveal, the Bar Council declared that “there is certainly something rotten in the house of MACC”.

Based on the TBH RCI proceedings, the Bar Council recommended that the RCI should make a finding that the MACC and its officers should be held responsible for TBH’s death and that they have also perpetrated a cover up on the causes and circumstances of TBH’s death at the RCI.

If Beng Hock’s death is not to be in vain, both MACC and its officers must be held responsible for his death and cover-up.

Are there any Ministers in the present government who are prepared to ensure that justice is done to Beng Hock and his aggrieved family by re-opening in the Cabinet and the Government the issue of who killed Beng Hock?

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