Last man to see Teoh left building at 6.10 a.m., court told

By Debra Chong, The Malysian Insider

The last man believed to have seen Teoh Beng Hock alive was seen leaving the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office here at 6.10 a.m. on the same day the DAP political aide’s body was later discovered, the coroner’s court was told Wednesday by lawyer Tan Hock Chuan.

The man, MACC officer Hishamuddin Hashim, was among a number of anti-graft officers identified by security guards from closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) photographs leaving and entering the building.

Tan, a criminal lawyer in private practice appointed by the Attorney General (AG) to represent the federal government in the inquest, had called the first six people who discovered Teoh’s body to testify in today’s inquest.

Security guard Abd Rahman Rahim, who was manning the lobby floor counter the same day Teoh’s body was found dead sprawled on a fifth floor balcony of the building, was the last witness. He had successfully identified two out of three men snapped as they were leaving the building from a series of CCTV photographs as MACC officers.

He recognised the third officer, who was later revealed to be the deputy director of the Selangor MACC and even named the first officer, whom he knew casually, as “Ashraf.”

But he failed to recognise the second man when shown a photo-exhibit listed as Photo 34, whom Tan claimed to be the last MACC officer to see Teoh alive.

The inquest into DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s death began this morning with Tan disclosing that swabs from 157 people were analysed in an attempt to find a match to the DNA of an unknown male found on Teoh’s jacket and belt.

But Tan refused to say if any of the 157 DNA samples tested were a match. He later told reporters he would leave it to the chemists, who will be making their appearance in court tomorrow, to testify.

Earlier, Tan gave a list of 97 witnesses and suggested that the inquest start with 12 including three chemists and three pathologists. He also said the toxicology, criminology and DNA reports were ready.

However, Gobind told the court that the Teoh family wanted their own appointed panel of chemists to be present in court to hear the reports.

Lawyer for the Selangor governmet, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, also told the court the state had hired their own panel of pathologists to review the ones appointed by the federal government. But the state-hired foreign pathologists could only make their way to court next Monday.

Magistrate Azmil Muntapha Abas, who is acting as coroner in this inquest, agreed to postpone the inquest to tomorrow to allow the experts to sit in.

Azmil also set aside Friday for a visit to the site where Teoh’s body was found.

The coroner had earlier called two witnesses – a female security guard who was the first person to find Teoh’s body and a male technician from Plaza Masalam whom she alerted upon making the discovery.

The technician, Mohd Ridzuan Samsuri, said there were only two ways to access the fifth-floor balcony where Teoh was found – through the rooftop or a grilled window on the same floor.

Ridzuan said the grille was always locked and only maintenance and security staff had the keys and there was a record kept of who accesses the area.

The 30-year-old political secretary was found dead on the rooftop of a five-storey building next to Plaza Masalam, where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has its Selangor head office on the 14th floor, last July 16.

He had been taken in as a witness in a probe into alleged misuse of state funds. He was due to register his marriage to his two-month pregnant fiancee Soh Cher Wei the day he was found dead.

The Cabinet has formed a royal commission of inquiry into MACC’s investigation procedures after it was revealed that Teoh was questioned from 6pm to 3.45am the next day.