TBH inquiry: MACC man watching porn at work (updated)-TheSunDaily

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TBH inquiry: MACC man watching porn at work (updated)

By: Tan Yi Liang (Thu, 31 Mar 2011)

newsdesk@thesundaily.com

KUALA LUMPUR (March 31, 2011): A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer who assisted in the interviewing of Teoh Beng Hock was watching porn in his office in the early hours of July 16, 2009, the day Teoh was found dead, revealed Tan Sri James Foong, chairman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating Teoh’s death .

Foong told Negri Sembilan MACC chief Hishamuddin Hashim that Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus had been found to be visiting pornographic websites at 1.20am on July 16, contrary to Ashraf’s testimony to the RCI that he was reading newspapers in his office at the time.

Hishamuddin was the Selangor MACC deputy head when Teoh was found dead on July 16, 2009.

“When the whole operation was ongoing, Ashraf was downloading pornography on July 16 at 1.25am after interviewing the witness. An important operation is going on and an officer is viewing porn even though there is a government directive forbidding this,” said Foong.

Hishamuddin said that this was a problem of a personal and not professional nature on the part of Ashraf. “It is a personal matter,” said Hishamuddin, adding that the matter was out of his control.

“You should knock his door, go in and see what he is doing,” replied Foong.

Teoh was brought in to the Selangor MACC branch on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam on July 15 as a witness in investigations of Ean Yong. Teoh’s body was found on a fifth floor landing of the building the next day.

In questioning by Bar Council lawyer Cheow Wee, Hishamuddin was asked about a poison pen letter carrying accusations directed at Hishamuddin.

The letter alleged that Hishamuddin refused to give a DNA sample and had a trademark interrogation technique, which was to pick the person up by the belt and shake them.

Hishamuddin dismissed the allegation as “fitnah” (malicious claim). “You can call all witnesses I have taken statements from or questioned,” said Hishamuddin.

He said that officers were given two days to give a DNA sample, and he gave his on the second day, adding that he did not participate in interrogations.

“I was the deputy director then and I just coordinated and gave orders,” added Hishamuddin.

To a question from Cheow as to Hishamuddin’s absence from an internal inquiry conducted by the MACC Complaints Committee, he firmly disagreed that he was uncooperative.

“I would have voluntarily attended the inquiry but there were no orders from top management issued to me on that,” said Hishamuddin, who was hit by a barrage of questions from Bar Council lawyer Edmund Bon.

“Who is the real person in-charge of this operation? Anuar, Hairul and you pointed at each other,” said Bon, who was told by Foong to “let Hishamuddin answer”.

Hishamuddin said the head of operations was Hairul Ilham Hamzah, and then Mohd Anuar Ismail in Hairul’s absence.

When asked by Bon about the 17½-hour interrogation of Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Wah, Hishamuddin agreed with Bon.

“For this case, we have to unravel the issues concerning assemblymen’s allocations and claims. We need and depend on witnesses,” said Hishamuddin.

He added that he had told an MACC officer, Bulkini Paharuddin to continue questioning Tan when Bulkini came to his office between 9 to 9.30pm to tell him Tan was not cooperating.

Earlier, responding to questions from conducting officer Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud, Hishamuddin said Section 47 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act 2009 gives MACC officers the power to compel witnesses to cooperate. However, it must be done politely.

To questions by Bar Council lawyer Cheow Wee on the investigation and interrogation techniques used by him, Hishamuddin defined MACC’s techniques as “ordinary”.

“Our meetings with witnesses are done in harmony. It is useless to use force as witnesses may turn hostile when in court. There is no other technique,” said Hishamuddin.

“We need their help to get truthful information,” he added, stressing that there was no use of threats when asked by Cheow.

Hishamuddin also said that a police report had not been made as investigations into Teoh’s death had already begun.

“One report is enough for the police to begin investigations. Teoh was found dead in the compound of Plaza Masalam, not in the offices of the MACC,” said Hishamuddin.

“If a witness had died in the office, I would have made a report myself,” he added, stressing that Teoh had been cleared to go home. “Teoh had left the MACC office as far as I am concerned,” he said.   

Hishamuddin’s demeanour during hearings was picked up by Foong, who told Hishamuddin to be calm as he feared he would get a heart attack in the witness box.

“You have been attending court cases as a MACC officer. You haven’t learnt how to answer questions. You get emotional,” said Foong.

The hearing continues.

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