Teoh Inquest: Officer asleep during interrogation

(The Star) SHAH ALAM: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer in charge of the case involving Teoh Beng Hock admitted that he would not know if the political aide was threatened when he was questioned by the officers.

Mohd Anuar Ismail said this was because he had been asleep most of the time when his subordinates interrogated Teoh in the early hours of July 16.

He said this at the inquest into Teoh’s death when he was cross-examined by counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who is holding a watching brief for Teoh’s family.

Gobind: During your snooze, you didn’t know what was going on?

Mohd Anuar: The officers briefed me.

Gobind: When you were sleeping, you didn’t know whether there were threats.

Mohd Anuar: I didn’t know.

Teoh, the political secretary to Selangor executive councilor Ean Yong Hian Wah had been summoned to the MACC office at the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam here on July 15 to be questioned over the alleged irregular disbursement of state allocations. He was found dead on the fifth floor the following day.

Mohd Anuar said he did not lodge a report after discovering that Teoh had died but rushed to Putrajaya to consult with his superiors.

Gobind: Your star witness is dead and you didn’t make a police report but got into your car and rushed to Putrajaya? Why did you not call the police?

Mohd Anuar: The situation was panicky as there was a dead person.

Mohd Anuar, 32, also said he had been instructed to go to Putrajaya for further instructions as well as to lodge a police report on July 17 by the Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim.

Gobind, who wanted to know why Mohd Anuar had left Teoh’s remains “lying there” without even informing the latter’s family, lawyer or boss, suggested he may have done so as there was “something to hide or remove” from the scene.

“I do not agree,” Mohd Anuar replied.

Earlier in the day, Mohd Anuar testified that he did not probe Teoh on his condition during the questioning session with MACC officer Mohd Nadzri Ibrahim at 2am as there was no need to do so.

However, Mohd Anuar who admitted he had gone back to sleep after inquiring if everything was alright, said he noticed that Teoh appeared to be uncomfortable and withholding something when his statement was being recorded.

Mohd Anuar added that he had asked Teoh if everything was okay but Teoh had kept mum.

Asked why he had not tried to find out why Teoh had kept silent and appeared uncomfortable, Mohd Anuar said it had not occurred to him to so.

Gobind also said Teoh’s lawyer M. Manoharan had waited at the MACC office for an hour on July 15 but no one came out to speak to him.

To this, Mohd Anuar said he was not aware that Manoharan had come to the MACC office that day.

On why the questioning had to be carried out throughout the night, Mohd Anuar replied that there was urgency in conducting Teoh’s case given the wide media coverage it had received.

Gobind asked: “You were directed to bring them in and get a confession?”

Mohd Anuar admitted that he had been instructed to do so by Hishamuddin and MACC head of investigation unit Hairul Ilham Hamzah.

The inquest continues today before coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas.