By Debra Chong, MI
SHAH ALAM, Aug 25 — Anti-graft investigator Mohd Anuar Ismail told the coroner’s court today that top Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officials had ordered him to step up investigations into allegations that Selangor assemblymen misused public funds.
He named the senior officials as Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim and investigations unit chief Hairul Ilham Hamzah.
One of them was named in a mystery letter alleging political collusion in investigating the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
Mohd Anuar, 32, is the 16th witness in the inquest into political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s death on July 16 at the MACC office in Plaza Masalam here.
Previously a lawyer, he had gone through six months of training at a police college in Kuala Kubu Baru before joining the MACC.
Teoh was earlier interrogated for nearly 10 hours before he was found dead the morning he was to register his marriage to his two-month pregnant fiancee.
The MACC investigator also admitted to Teoh family lawyer Gobind Singh Deo that it was unusual to question people into the wee hours of the morning.
He also told the court that he did not check if Teoh’s lawyer M. Manoharan had turned up to be present during the interrogation. Gobind claimed Manoharan had waited an hour at the MACC office.
IO ordered to pressure Beng Hock into spilling the beans
Tan Yi Liang
SHAH ALAM (Aug 25, 2009) : Senior Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers ordered an investigating officer to detain political aide Teoh Beng Hock and three other witnesses for questioning overnight to pressure them to spill the beans over alleged misappropriation of allocation for a state assemblyman, the inquest into Teoh’s death was told today.
MACC investigating officer Mohd Anuar Ismail said this was done because the investigation into the case had to be “sped up” as the issue of the alleged misuse of public funds had become “sensitive” as it was all over the newspapers.
Under intense questioning from Teoh’s family counsel Gobind Singh Deo, Anuar admitted he had held Teoh and three other witnesses over the night of July 15 as the Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim and the head of investigations Hairul Ilham had directed him to extract information from the witnesses.
He said Teoh was questioned by two officers from 6pm until 3 to 3.45am the next day, and described the extended detention as “normal”.
He said he was not aware that Teoh’s lawyer M. Manoharan had been waiting to see Teoh for more than an hour, although he had agreed to allow the lawyer to be present during the questioning. He said he however had not checked if Manoharan was there, as Teoh was just a witness and had not been arrested.
Gobind Singh: “Isn’t it oppressive for an individual to be interrogated late into the night?
“It may tire the witness,” said Anuar, who admitted there were was no standard operating procedure for interrogating witnesses, except the procedures under the Anti-Corruption Act and several other laws.
On another matter raised by Gobind, Anuar admitted he did not make a police report immediately after seeing Teoh’s body at the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam at 2pm on July 16 as he was directed by Hishamuddin to go to Putrajaya to seek instruction from MACC headquarters.
“There was panic upon seeing a body there. I informed Hishamuddin about the matter and sought further instruction,” said Anuar.
This response shocked Gobind, who asked Anuar whether he cared about the fate of his “star witness”.
Anuar replied that he would have made a report if he was “instructed to do so”.
Gobind then suggested that Anuar was “actually hiding something”. “That’s why you were afraid to lodge a police report at that time, so that you could conceal the evidence at the scene because it was actually the MACC officers who killed Teoh,” he said.
Anuar denied this, along with an allegation that the MACC routinely questioned witnesses at night to hide any evidence of torture as the surrounding offices were closed.
Anuar said when he went to check on the recording of Teoh’s statement at 2am by a junior MACC officer, Mohd Nadzri Ibrahim, Teoh appeared uncomfortable, as if he was holding something back.
“I suspected that something was amiss, but decided not to ask Teoh what was troubling him in front of the recording officer,” said Anuar, who said he went back to sleep.
Gobind then accused Anuar of lying to the court when he testified yesterday that Teoh was not oppressed during the questioning, since he was sleeping.
When Gobind suggested that Anuar did not know whether Teoh was oppressed, Anuar nodded.
Under questioning by MACC counsel Datuk Abdul Razak Musa, Anuar said the MACC had seized boxes of documents from contractors linked to Teoh’s boss executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah regarding the misappropriation, and testified that Teoh had seemed “nervous” when his laptop and desktop were seized at his office at the Selangor State Secretariat building. He said four pages of documents printed from the laptop were used in the questioning of Teoh.