Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MACC officers in Teoh Beng Hock's death cleared

2:17PM Jul 15, 2014By Kow Gah Chie
The three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers implicated in the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock by a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) have been cleared of indiscipline.

"The MACC’s special investigation team comprising its disciplinary board and the complaints committee (one of the MACC independent oversight committees) also cleared the trio of any violation of the Civil Service Regulations (Behaviour and Disciplinary) 1993, the MACC Act 2009 and MACC’s internal rules and regulations," the anti-corruption body told Malaysiakini in a statement.

The commission was responding to queries from Malaysiakini, including on the status of the MACC’s disciplinary hearing against the trio.

Those implicated in the RCI are former Selangor investigations unit head Hishamudin Hashim, assistant enforcement officerArman Alies and assistant superintendent Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

The Attorney-General’s Chamber’s (AGC) had in 2012 alsocleared Hishamudin, Anuar and Ashraf of criminal charges.

Teoh was found dead at Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on the morning of July 16, 2009, after an overnight interrogation at where MACC's Selangor headquarters there.

Tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of Teoh's death.

The trio was first implicatedwhen they were singled out by a royal commission of inquiry led by then Federal Court judge James Foong(left) in a 124-page report released in 2011, two years after Teoh Beng Hock died.

The RCI said that four interrogations endured by Teoh caused him to move from being in the low-risk group for suicide into the high-risk group in just 13 hours.

On the trio's interrogation tactics, the report dubbed Arman "the bully", Mohd Ashraf "the abuser" and Hishammuddin "the arrogant leader".

MACC suspended the trio and launched a internal probe through a committee led by former appellate court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah.

'No further comment as there's a civil case'

The three other members of the committee were then said to be former Prime Minister's Department deputy chief secretary Muhammad Mohd Noor, former public complaints bureau director-general Wan Abdul Wahab Abdullah and lawyer V Ravindran.

Other than saying now that this committee has cleared the trio of any wrongdoings, MACC's statement to Malaysiakini declined to comment further as there was still a civil case pending.

"However, the MACC would like to state that the MACC strives to uphold professionalism in all its activities," the MACC said.

Hishamudin, Anuar and Ashraf work for the internal Executive Transformation Commission (JET), which is tasked to reform MACC's organisation after Teoh Beng Hock's death, according to an internal source.

The source said they were "cold storaged" after Teoh's death.

When contacted, an MACC spokesperson  told Malaysiakini that Hishamudin, Anuar and Ashraf are no longer frontline MACC enforcers.

However, he denied also they are part of the transformation team. They remain employed by MACC but only to handle administrative duties.

"They are now at the headquarters, performing administrative duties, no longer in the enforcement unit," he said.

JET was set up in July 2011 and is tasked to evaluate, check and offer advice to the management level of MACC, the spokesperson added.

Paul Low: MACC is now a safe place

On July 10, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Paul Low, who oversees governance and integrity, told a press conference that the MACC is now "a safe place to go".

Low said this in response to questions about MACC's "transformations" following Teoh's death.

"MACC has done a lot in terms of revamping, improving investigating skills, setting up the dos and don'ts, (upgrading) the facilities and surveilence.

"Every interrogation room is now recorded, which can't be tampered," he said. "The interrogation rooms are located either at the ground floor or the basement.

"Yes, the MACC is safe now," Low emphasised.
~ Malaysiakini

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