Malaysia

A-G playing the fool over Teoh’s death, says family lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The lawyer for Teoh Beng Hock’s family doubts they will be treated fairly by an Attorney-General who is “clearly playing the fool” by saying he “prosecutes without control over investigations.”

Gobind Singh Deo said in a statement sent to The Malaysian Insider that Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s failure to state clearly if the three anti-graft officers who allegedly drove Teoh to suicide would be prosecuted was “highly irresponsible.”

Gobind asked why the matter was referred back to the MACC when it was the agency’s conduct which was being investigated to begin with. — File picGobind asked why the matter was referred back to the MACC when it was the agency’s conduct which was being investigated to begin with. — File pic“He is clearly playing the fool. The A-G’s stance that he ‘only charge’ and ‘not investigate’ makes no sense at all. What kind of A-G prosecutes only without control over investigations?

“If he didn’t investigate, why were his officers not only present but actively involved in both the inquest and RCI?” the Puchong MP said, referring to the royal commission of inquiry which recommended action be taken against the trio.

“Why is he referring the matter back to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when it is their conduct which is being investigated to begin with? Isn’t this plain ridiculous? There is a conflict,” the DAP leader added.

Gani refused yesterday evening to clarify whether his office would prosecute then-Selangor MACC deputy director Hishammuddin Hashim, assistant enforcement officer Arman Alies and assistant superintendent Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

He only told reporters that “the case has been referred back to the MACC” after meeting de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and MACC investigations chief Datuk Mustafar Ali.

“I only charge, not investigate. I don’t want to argue with you,” Gani said when asked about whether there was criminal wrongdoing by the graftbusters.

Gobind, however, said such a response “comes as no surprise” as recent accusations that Gani has repeatedly fabricated evidence “throws serious doubts over the A-G’s partiality.”

“It is somewhat a sorry state of affairs. We have a criminal justice system where the top decision-makers themselves have so many allegations against them. How can we, in these circumstances, expect fairness and results?” he said.

Nazri had said in a written reply in Parliament to Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching on Wednesday that police were investigating the case and the Attorney General’s Chambers was now studying investigation papers after a complaint lodged by Teoh’s sister Lee Lan on October 28 last year.

But Teo, the DAP deputy publicity chief, told reporters yesterday morning that the latest reply contradicted Nazri’s March 29 reply to PKR’s Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye when he said “the AGC has found no criminal wrongdoing... no legal action will be taken against the three MACC officers.”

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had said on October 24, 2011 that the A-G was not pursuing legal action against the three MACC officers implicated in the DAP aide’s 2009 death as no police report had been lodged and there was a lack of investigative evidence.

The Padang Rengas MP refused to comment on the matter yesterday afternoon, only sending a message through his aide for reporters to “clarify with the A-G as his officer provided the response.”

It is somewhat a sorry state of affairs. We have a criminal justice system where the top decision-makers themselves have so many allegations against them. How can we, in these circumstances, expect fairness and results? — Gobind Singh Deo

Teoh, political aide to Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth-floor corridor of the Selangor MACC office in Shah Alam after overnight questioning.

A coroner’s inquest returned an “open verdict”, ruling out both suicide and homicide, leading Datuk Seri Najib Razak to order a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) after a public uproar.

The royal panel found that the three MACC investigating officers involved in the case used “continuous, aggressive and improper questioning tactics on TBH (Teoh Beng Hock) which had breached its existing standard operating procedures” and recommended that action be taken against them.

A previous RCI in 2007 probing allegations that appointments of judges were fixed also recommended action against senior lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, former Chief Justices Tun Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as well as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

But Gani, who has been A-G since 2002, has not prosecuted any individual implicated in either RCI.

His failure do so, combined with allegations by former senior police officers that he fabricated evidence in high-profile cases such as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s “black eye” case in 1998, has led to calls that a tribunal be set up to investigate the claims of misconduct.

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