Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gobind upset A-G ‘vindicated’ MACC

Gobind upset A-G ‘vindicated’ MACC

Teoh El Sen | April 5, 2012-FMT

The Attorney-General's decision is inconsistent with the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, says the DAP lawyer.

PETALING JAYA: DAP lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said today that he felt “very upset” that the Attorney-General’s (A-G) Chambers has cleared the three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers implicated in the death of former political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

“I think this decision flies squarely in the face of the Royal Commission of Inquiry [RCI] report. The findings by the RCI were clear: there was sufficient basis for action to be taken, including disciplinary action as well as criminal charges,” said Gobind, the Puchong MP, who has been the Teoh family’s main legal representative.

Earlier in Parliament today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said in a written reply to Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye that the A-G had found that the MACC officers had not committed any offence either under the Penal Code or the MACC Act.

Gobind said that this latest announcement shows that the government does not respect the findings of the RCI at all.

“What the A-G has done clearly reflects very badly on the RCI proceedings. If we have spent time and effort in establishing a RCI, which investigated the matter and made certain findings based on evidence and sworn witness statements, it should have been acted upon,” he said.

He also criticised the A-G for not supplying any concrete reasons for the case to be closed.

“There is no reason for the three persons named [in the RCI findings] to be cleared. All we have is a very general statement stating say there was no evidence. I have asked but they could not tell me who was being investigated or what was being investigated,” Gobind said.

He said he had previously suggested that the A-G could use Section 330 of the Penal Code for the offence of “voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession…” to charge those men with driving Teoh to suicide.

When contacted, Teoh’s fiancée Soh Cher Wei, who married Teoh posthumously in 2009, only said: “No comment. I’m so sorry.”

Open verdict

Teoh, 30, was the political aide of Selangor executive council member Ean Yong Hian Wah. He was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after he was questioned overnight by the MACC officers on the 14th floor.

Teoh was a witness into investigations of alleged abuse of state funds by Ean Yong, who had since been cleared of any wrongdoing by the MACC.

The RCI, which was set up after a coroner’s court returned an “open verdict”, found that excessive aggression in interrogation methods drove Teoh to commit suicide.

Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar had said that there are no laws to charge the three MACC officers, while the MACC said it would deal with them internally by setting up a special investigative team.

The five-man RCI panel, headed by then federal court judge James Foong, had singled out the three officers who were involved in the interrogations. They were Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim and his subordinates Mohd Anuar Ismail and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

Contrary to the RCI report which named the three men, the Bar Council – which actively participated in the RCI – had recommended that five MACC officers be investigated for culpable homicide.

The five officers include Hishamuddin, Mohd Anuar and Mohd Ashraf as well as Selangor MACC investigations chief, Hairul Ilham Hamzah, and Klang MACC assistant enforcement officer Zulkefly Aziz.

The Bar had recommended that the five be investigated under Section 304A of the Penal Code for causing the death of Teoh via negligence.

On Oct 24 last year, Nazri said that Attorney-General “was not compelled” to pursue the case, due to lack of evidence and witness accounts, but will do so if new evidence surfaces

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