MACC suspends three named in Teoh RCI report


By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has suspended three graftbusters who were said to have pressured DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock into committing suicide in 2009.

MACC said the trio’s suspension is pending the outcome of an internal probe on the findings of the just-released Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report into Teoh’s death.

“Pending the outcome of this report, all three officers will be suspended or barred from any investigation operation,” the statement said.

The commission said the special investigation team to conduct the probe will be led by MACC deputy chief commissioner (management and professionalism) Datuk Zakaria Jaffar.

It did not state, however, the names of the trio but it is believed that they are former Selangor MACC deputy director Hishammuddin Hashim and enforcement officers Arman Alies and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus, all of whom were named by the RCI.

Upon completion, it said, a report will be sent to the agency’s complaints committee comprising four independent individuals – former Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah as chairman and three members, namely former Prime Minister’s Department deputy secretary-general Datuk Muhammad Mohd Noor, former Public Complaints Bureau director Datuk Wan Abdul Wahab Abdullah and lawyer V. Ravindran.

Apart from the internal probe, the anti-graft body also pledged to give its full co-operation to the police to carry out its own investigation on the three officers named in the RCI report.

“We will not protect any individual that breaks the law. MACC would like to stress that we will not tolerate any officer found to be guilty of any crime or wrongdoing,” it said.

The RCI report into Teoh’s death, released two days ago, ruled that the DAP aide had committed suicide as a result of pressure from aggressive and prolonged questioning by MACC officers.

The officers had purportedly wanted to pressure Teoh into becoming a witness in their case against his boss, Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, for alleged abuse of public funds.

The RCI had also found fault with the MACC’s techniques, saying that the graft officers on Teoh’s case were not only brutal during interrogation but also had poor interview skills and viewed witnesses and suspects as “the enemy”.

It noted that the Selangor MACC’s operation to obtain evidence to support its corruption case had led to the death of Teoh, whom it described in the report as “a young man in the prime of life who had everything to look forward to” and whose family had been “robbed” of a son, brother, husband and father.

MACC said today it “accepts and views seriously” the royal panel’s findings, adding that it has already moved to implement some of its recommendations and suggestions.