SHAH ALAM: The Teoh Beng Hock inquest was thrown into chaos of sorts when a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer alleged the deceased had received kickbacks.
The explosive situation resulted in coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas ordering part of Wednesdays testimony to be expunged.
Mohd Anuar Ismail, who is the 16th witness, testified that Teoh and his boss Selangor executive councilor Ean Yong Hian Wah allegedly received cuts for projects, which had been approved by the latter.
Mohd Anuar, who was being cross-examined by counsel holding a watching brief for the MACC Datuk Abd Razak Musa, also explained the alleged modus operandi of the entire operations and testified that payments were also made to the DAP by the companies.
The drama started when it was revealed that the testimony was based on documents seized from Teoh’s office on July 15 by MACC officers.
This raised the ire of counsel Gobind Singh Deo who is holding a watching brief for Teoh Beng Hock’s family.
Gobind protested and said Abd Razak had not kept his word to revolve questions only around the four documents printed out from Teoh Beng Hocks laptop.
He added Abd Razak had said on Tuesday that questions on allocations would focus on the four documents.
“But today evidence is given about the entire investigations. He did not keep to his word and has taken the court for a ride,” exploded Gobind.
He initially demanded that the testimony be expunged given that Teoh no longer existed to defend himself.
Gobind added the inquest, which was being conducted to determine Teohs cause of death, should not be used to incriminate him instead.
Abd Razak then told the coroner Mohd Anuar’s testimony was based on Teoh’s cautioned statement and the companies the deceased had mentioned.
“It is to show the state of mind of the deceased after he was shown these documents. We are not taking the opportunity to tarnish the deceased’s name,” said Abd Razak.
By then, Gobind appeared to have changed his mind and told coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas he was prepared to continue.
“Lets proceed. Im making an application for an adjournment to come back with our witnesses. I take them on. We want to establish that the DAP and Teoh Beng Hock did nothing wrong.
“Lets make this a corruption trial for Teoh. The damage is done and we want it to proceed. We want to challenge every witness and a chance to rebut these ridiculous allegations,” said Gobind.
He said he would also require a copy of every document that Abd Razak would be bringing in pertaining to the matter.
Azmil Muntapha adjourned the proceedings briefly and when he returned explained at length what an inquest was.
“This is not a trial to put in other evidence,” said Azmil Muntapha before ordering the testimony given by Mohd Anuar pertaining to the seven companies to be expunged.
Meanwhile, the inquest also heard that Teoh was heard having an argument with fellow DAP member Tan Boon Hwa on the day he died.
Mohd Anuar told the inquest that his colleague Bulkini Paharudin informed him of this.
“After Teoh Beng Hock’s death, I was informed by Bulkini that there was an argument between Tan Boon Hwa and Teoh Beng Hock at 2.00am in the MACC toilet,” testified Mohd Anuar when cross-examined by MACC’s counsel Datuk Abd Razak Musa.
Teoh, who was the political secretary to Selangor executive councilor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was summoned to the MACC office located on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam here on July 15 to be questioned over the alleged irregular disbursement of state funds.
He was found dead at the building’s fifth floor service corridor the following day.
Tan, who is a councilor with the Kajang Municipal Council, had also been summoned by the MACC for questioning on the same day.
Bulkini is also one of the witnesses scheduled to be called to testify at the inquest.
Earlier when being cross-examined by Abd Razak, Mohd Anuar said he did not agree that Teoh had died while in the MACC’s custody as he had been released from questioning when he died.
Below is the account of developments as they unfolded in the inquest.
03:23pm: Court adjourns to 2pm tomorrow. Witnesses expected to take the stand tomorrow are MACC officers Mohd Najeib Ahmad Walad, Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus and K. Sachianandan.
03:17pm: Abd Razak starts questioning Azhar. Azhar says Teoh appeared restless during the car ride to the MACC office,
03:05pm: Azhar disagrees with Gobind’s suggestion that Teoh was asked to drive his own car to MACC office because he would not get out of the MACC building. Azhar, who had the laptop and Hafiz, had the CPU. The two officers rode with Teoh in his car from Ean Yong’s office at the state secretariat building to MACC office in Plaza Masalam. Both offices are only a short distance away.
03:00pm: Gobind starts questioning Azhar.
02:56pm: Azhar said he last saw Teoh at 10pm in Selangor MACC office before he left to go back to his Putrajaya base.
02:35pm: Azhar said he was directed by Anuar to bring the laptop seized from Ean Yong’s office to the Selangor MACC office in Plaza Masalam. Another colleague Mohd Hafiz Idris was directed to bring the CPU. Azhar said he did not know why he was asked to bring the laptop.
02:10pm: Court resumes. Anuar's testimony of alleged kickbacks made to a political party ordered to be expunged by coroner. 17th witness called to the stand - Putrajaya MACC officer Mohd Azhar Abang Menteri.
12:15pm: Court breaks for lunch. Proceedings resume at 2pm.
11:40am: To a question by Abd Razak, Anuar tells the court that an MACC officer, Bulkani Paharuddin had told him that another witness Tan Boon Wah, was arguing with Teoh in the men’s room of the MACC office at about 2am on July 16. Tan, who is a Kajang Municipal councillor, was one of the four witnesses present at MACC that night.
11:30am: Anuar says he didn’t lodge a police report straightaway after finding Teoh’s body because he believed that the first person who found Teoh had done so. At the time when he saw the body, there were already many people gathering on the fifth floor of the building.
11:22am: Anuar explains to the court the reason why MACC conducts night interrogation. He says in some investigations, witnesses who hold day jobs choose to be interrogated at night so it will not interfere with their work. Some witnesses choose not to be seen at MACC building for their own reasons so they choose night time to record their statement with MACC. Anuar adds the MACC office is open 24 hours.
11:10am: Court resumes
10:25am: Court takes a short recess.
10:20am: Tan Hock Chuan asks for a short break for all interested parties to have a discussion. Gobind objects again, saying, “No, the damage has been done. The allegations about DAP has been put on record. Teoh did nothing wrong. This inquest has turned into a corruption trial of Teoh Beng Hock.”
10:10am: Gobind gets up to object about Anuar's testimony of alleged kickbacks received by a political party. He says Abd Razak has breached what was agreed yesterday, which was for the inquest to stay within the statement taken from Mohd Anuar by investigating officer ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal. Gobind says Abd Razak is using the inquest as a platform to talk about the entire investigation by MACC. “We have nothing to hide. We can bring our witnesses and justify the allegations by Mohd Anuar. Mohd Anuar’s allegations are baseless. it is unfair for my deceased client,” Gobind tells the coroner. Abd Razak says the result of the investigation by MACC is important to establish Teoh’s state of mind.
09:35am: Mohd Anuar takes the stand for the fourth time. He is now being questioned by lawyer representing MACC Datuk Abd Razak Musa.
09:30am: Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas allows application made by lawyer Salim Bashir for his client, Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah to sit in the court so that Ean Yong can listen to the testimony of Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officer Mohd Anuar Ismail.
09:25am: Day 14 of Teoh Beng Hock inquest begins.