(Malaysiakini) - Does Johor underworld figure Goh Cheng Poh @ Tengku Goh have a special relationship with former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan?
This was question posed five years ago by former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director Ramli Yusuff in his affidavit in reply to Goh's habeas corpus application to be freed from restricted residence.
Court documents made available to Malaysiakini add further mystery to the possibility of such a relationship, for the kingpin states in his Aug 14, 2007 application: "I believe the IGP (Musa) was not informed of my arrest and detention."
Goh was picked up in Johor Baru on Aug 1, 2007, and placed under restricted residence until his release four months later.
Ramli (centre in photo), in his affidavit-in-reply to Tengku Goh's application, says the statement "is as if the subject (Tengku Goh) has described he has a special relationship with the IGP".
"It is also as if the (then) IGP has a particular interest in Tengku Goh's well-being, whereas the subject admitted that he was not a good person," the former CCID director's affidavit says.
Tengku Goh has admitted to his shady background and this is stated in the affidavits in support of his detention filed by Ramli, former Home Ministry deputy minister Johari Baharum and the police - that the kingpin had a long history in crime and had been banished before.
"I admit I do not have a good background as I have been banished to Pahang for being a horse bookie," Tengku Goh conceded in his police report over complaints made against him.
His affidavit stating that he had been cleared by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and by attorney-general (AG) Abdul Gani Patail, also raises questions as to whether he has inside knowledge.
Ramli describes this in his affidavit as "mischievous and could be an attempt to tarnish enforcement agencies and civil servants".
"It is up to the ACA and the AG to reply or deny the statement made by Goh," says Ramli.
The underworld kingpin's affidavit describes the allegations about Musa having "links" with him as without any basis, and he believes the AG had verified the matter.
Poison-pen letter implicating Musa
Sources familiar with the case argue that if Goh's statement is incorrect, then why did Musa or the AG not take action against Goh or even deny it. Neither Musa nor Gani had filed any application to rebut these assertions.
Also, on the day of Goh's arrest on Aug 1, Musa told a press conference that he had been framed by his own men.
In another twist to the case, the AG's Chambers refused to draft any affidavit in reply for Ramli, Johari Baharum (right) and several of Ramli's men involved in the case - which Ramli at his birthday celebration on Feb 29 this year described as Gani's abdication of his duties.
In Johari's affidavit, the then deputy internal security minister says he instructed Ramli to conduct investigations into the ‘Ah Long' (money-lending syndicate) menace in Johor and Malacca.
This came after a poison-pen letter was sent to then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was also internal security minister, by a person claiming to be a former senior police officer from Johor.
The letter said Musa's was backing Johor underworld figure Tengku Goh.
Johari's affidavit-in-reply to Goh's application also states that sometime in 2006, the Malaysian government was worried about the growing Ah Long menace, which had become widespread, and formed a task force to tackle the problem in January 2007.
The task force included the CCID, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Finance Ministry.
"There are allegations of persons holding titles of Datuk and Justice of Peace (JP) who are active in Ah Long syndicates operating in Malacca and Johor. There are also allegations and complaints made against the IGP following a poison pen letter dated March 20, 2007.
"The CCID chief is to jointly head the task force," Johari says in his affidavit dated July 5, 2007.
He also said he was satisfied with the CCID's investigations and agreed to issue a warrant of arrest and a detention order against Tengku Goh, who ,he claimed, also tried to smear his name and stir up a conflict between him and Musa.
Johari also questioned a New Straits Times (NST) report dated Aug 13, 2007, quoting ACA sources on its investigations into the illegal arrest and detention of Tengku Goh.
"The Prevention of Corruption Act 1997 forbids release of information until the person is charged," the deputy minister states.
The NST, in a front-page report, said though Tengku Goh was cleared by the police Secret Society, Vice and Gaming Division, he was arrested by other police officers.
The report also quoted a lawyer for Tengku Goh as saying that Goh was at the centre of allegations that he had paid RM2 million to Musa.
Was the underworld boss cleared?
While Tengku Goh had in his affidavit claimed that he was cleared by the CID, the affidavit in reply by one ASP Yap Fui Lee had denied this.
"I have been asked by the Deputy Director I of the CID (Operations/Covert Operation) in Bukit Aman to investigate the rumours that Goh was involved in illegal activities, but was afraid for his life and that of his family following allegations that he was a kingpin with ties to Musa (left)," Yap says in his affidavit.
"Nowhere in my meetings with Goh and in taking his statement, nowhere did I give assurances that no action will be taken against him.
"My investigation is on his report over him being afraid of his and his family's safety. Hence, I deny any claims and allegations made by Goh and want his habeas corpus application rejected."
In Tengku Goh's affidavit, he states that ASP Yap had met him several times to get his statement and the police officer had said he was not involved in illegal gambling, vice, Ah Long and drug operations.
The kingpin also admitted in his affidavit of being probed by the ACA and that he was also cleared by the agency.
Following this, it would seem that Tengku Goh may have lied in his affidavit-in-support and therefore, raising questions as to why no action was taken against him for perjuring the AG or Musa, if his claims were untrue.
So how can a suspected criminal make such claims against people holding such senior posts of IGP and AG without action being taken against him or her? This is the question that has been asked many times since then, no one has come forth with the answers.
On Feb 29, Ramli in his speech at his leap-year birthday celebration alleged that Abdul Gani (right), Musa and the ACA had fixed him and his men for pursuing their investigations against Tengku Goh.
The former CCID director had also said that the AG's Chambers refused to assist him and Johari in preparing their affidavits-in-reply, forcing them to turn to Rosli Dahlan, a lawyer in private practice, for help.
Ramli had also told Malaysiakini that he was prepared to testify before a tribunal if set up by Parliament to investigate the wrongdoings, if any, of Musa, Abdul Gani and the ACA.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had on Monday asked for proof to back allegations of collusion among Musa, Gani and Tengku Goh.
When told that the proof the ministry was looking for was partly in the form of a letter sent by Ramli's lawyer in September 2007, the minister admitted having the letter but said there was no need for a new probe as the matter was not new.
Malaysiakini has also attempted to contact Abdul Gani for his response by texting and emailing him, without any response from the AG so far.
Musa has ,meanwhile, denied the allegations against him, saying he was cleared of these back in July 2007.