Monday, 24 August 2009

Teoh Inquest: Allegations in "mystery" letter unsubstantiated

The Teoh Beng Hock inquest which entered its 12th day today was told that allegations made against a high ranking MACC officer in relation to the political aide's death were unsubstantiated, according to a Malaysiakini report.

Lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, appearing for the Attorney General, told coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas that the police did not find anything to support the allegations explicitly mentioned in the letter.

He said that the police investigations on the letter revealed:

• No evidence to support that the said high ranking MACC officer had ordered his officers to keep his name out of the case.

• No evidence to support the allegation that the said officer had adopted a certain form of investigative method - holding a suspect by the belt to shake him up.

• DNA expert Siah Lay Hong has rejected claims in the letter that the said officer gave his DNA sample privately and not with his colleagues.

• No evidence to show that the officer had ordered his subordinates to clean the
window panels to wipe away fingerprints.

• The said officer did not punched out when he left the MACC office. This was in accordance with what was alleged in the letter.

"Police recorded statements from the relevant witnesses but did not find any evidence that could support the claims made," said Tan.

Tan also informed the inquest that a second round of DNA samples were again taken from 12 MACC officers including the high ranking officer on Wednesday, but none matched the mystery DNA samples found on the back of the coat of the deceased and also his belt on the day he was found dead.

As to the letter's allegation that the MACC officer did not punch out on the clock when leaving his office on the day of the incident, Tan admitted this but asked the court to consider the fact that the CCTV recording showed he left at 6.26am on July 16, 2009.

"Besides these five allegations, the others are out of the scope of the inquest and I will not be making any comments on them," added Tan.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, appearing for the Teoh family, objected to Tan revealing the findings of the police probe, stating that the explanations should have been given by the investigating officer.

Gobind' also requested for the letter to be marked as an exhibit but was objected by Tan and lawyer Abdul Razak Musa, who is holding a watching brief for the MACC.

Abdul Razak said the were no legal provisions for anonymous letters to be accepted as exhibits and stressed that the court should not be unduly influenced by it.

The coroner then ordered that the letter not be marked as an exhibit first but be kept in the court' files. He also gave the nod to Gobind to cross-examine MACC witnesses on the allegations contained in the letter when they gave testimony later.

The inquest then continued with its 16th witness Mohd Anuar Ismail, investigating officer from MACC office, called to testify.

The unsigned letter which was type-written in a MACC letterhead was produced at the inquest on Thursday by Gobind, who had who had received it from an individual on Wednesday evening.

The letter claimed that the high-ranking MACC officer, later revealed to be the Selangor MACC deputy chief Hishamuddin Hassim, was involved in Teoh's case and his subsequent death.

The letter also revealed Hishamuddin's link with former Selangor menteri besar Khir Toyo.

Azmil had then ordered the police to investigate the claims made in the letter. - Malaysiakini

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