Thursday, March 24, 2011

MACC man: Teoh’s death angered me

KUALA LUMPUR:  A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer said today that he felt angry, not guilty, over the death of Teoh Beng Hock.
Continuing with his statement before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating the death and MACC’s interrogation methods, Mohd Anuar Ismail said the tragedy caused problems for him and his family.
Teoh was found dead the morning after his overnight interrogation by MACC officers at their office in Shah Alam. He was political aide to Ean Yong Hian Wah, the Selangor state executive councillor the agency was investigating for alleged misappropriation of funds. His body was found on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, the same building that houses the MACC office.

Anuar gave an affirmative answer when MACC lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah asked whether “Teoh’s actions” caused anger in him.
“His death caused problems to me and my family,” he said.
This led to the RCI members asking whether he felt responsible. He repeatedly said he did not.
James Foong (RCI chairman): You didn’t cause it, but you feel angry for Teoh’s dying. You didn’t feel like you contributed to it?
Anuar: No
Foong: Did you think you contributed?
Anuar:  There was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
He added that he had handled “thousands” of witnesses before but nothing such as this had happened.
Commissioner Mohamed Hatta Shaharom suggested that Anuar was in a “state of denial”.
Hatta: You are in the state of denial.  You report that you have handled thousands of witnesses before. But Teoh could be the eggshell. You punched him without realising how thick his skull was.
Anuar: I don’t think my action of bringing him to the office made him jump.
Hatta: You don’t feel guilty? You don’t feel you have sinned? You are in a state of denial.
Anuar: I did my best. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
Anuar admitted that he should not have acted in certain ways with witnesses, but said it never occurred to him that something of the nature of the Teoh tragedy would happen.
Responding to a question from Shafee, he said Teoh’s death was “an extreme loss” to MACC because the investigation “hit a blank wall” as a result.
During earlier questioning, Anuar said Teoh was an integral witness in MACC’s case against Ean Yong.
“Teoh was the middle man between Ean Yong and the contractors,” he said. “The person who could explain this was that one person.”
He told the hearing that the case had since been taken off Selangor MACC’s hands and transferred to Putrajaya.
Explaining why Teoh had not gone home when officers had finished recording his statement at 3.30am, he said it was “normal” practice among enforcement agencies to ask witnesses to stay back “until things have calmed down” or for fear that “they may be hurt by some parties”.
He also said it was possible that Teoh wanted to stay back because he was tired or “did not want to meet his boss or others related to this case after he had given his statement to the MACC”.
Anuar’s testimony ended today. He had been testifying since Monday. The inquiry continues tomorrow.

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