When the witness becomes the accused
Citizen Nades – By R. Nadeswaran
7th May 2008
EVER WONDERED why the police force is unable to close files and solve crimes? Do you know why witnesses to crimes do not want to come forward? Why do witnesses suddenly have memory lapses and declare: “I did not see anything.” I got the answers yesterday. Two police officers from the Commercial Crime Division of Bukit Aman gave an insight into how investigations are carried out and I can tell you with a clear conscience that it was an exercise in futility because their line of questioning would have insulted the intelligence of any right-thinking person.
Assistant Superintendents Wan Zainal Wan Mat and Albany Hamzah turned up at the office and said that they needed to record my statement in relation to police investigations into the transfer of funds from Balkis. To say that they came ill-prepared would be an understatement. To say that they never read any of the reports in theSun or any other newspaper would be the bitter truth. They are supposed to be investigating the transfer of RM9.9 million, and yet had no clue as to how to go about doing the job. This is because they came with pre-conceived notions and pre-prepared questions, perhaps drafted by their superiors, in the hope that this writer would shoot himself in the foot by implicating himself.
After the caution was administered under the Criminal Procedure Code and the usual questions on my qualifications and my career, it was crystal clear they wanted me to reveal my sources and wanted documents in my possession. Not that I had run foul of the Official Secrets Act because none of the documents cited were classified, but they came on a fishing expedition to get me to expose my hand and to find out what is going to be published in the future. They expected me to sing like a canary!
Terence Fernandez and I looked at each other in despair when asked: Merujuk kepada petikan yang terdapat dalam artikel berkaitan dengan memetik kenyataan Yeo Yang Poh (former president of the Bar Council), dari manakah sumber petikan berkenaan diperolehi? (Your article had a quote from former Bar Council president Yeo Yang Poh. What is the source of the quote?) If only the two officers had cared to read the first paragraph of my report which was in front of their eyes they would have known where it came from – the Malaysian Bar website. But no, they had read nothing. What has Yeo’s comments got to do with their investigations?
They wanted to know if “I was instructed to write” and wanted to know if I had read the constitution of Balkis. If they had read all the reports on Balkis, they would have known that I quoted its constitution extensively. But no, they just cast the line hoping for a bite. The next question: Adakah kamu ada menyimpan perlembagaan Balkis. (Are you keeping a copy of the constitution) Did they expect a “Yes” from me? Even if I had it, does it make it an offence unless of course they thought they are putting the fright into me?
Are you in possession of a letter from the Registrar of Societies dated April 14 addressed to the mentri besar? Well, that’s not a classified document and even if I had it, would they have expected me to say: “Yes, I have it.”? They showed their hands too early and they thought they trumped me by asking: “You write that “according to documents sighted by theSun”, can you tell me what the documents are. My curt reply: “I cannot tell you because it is unethical for journalists to reveal what (documents) they saw or read.”
By which time, they had no more cards to play. They threw in the sai-lang card: “Dimanakah kamu dapat dokumen-dokumen berkenaan?” (Where did you get the documents from?”) Was this an investigation into Balkis or a probe to trace the source of my documents?
When they asked the final question, I blew my top because it not only became harassment but also bordered on stupidity. I was asked: Adakah kamu tahu siapa hakim bertindak sebagai penasihat undang-undang kepada Bakti sebagaimana yang dinyatakan oleh akhbar theSun? (Do you know the identity of the judge who acted as the legal adviser of Balkis?)
I asked the relevance of such a question. The answer was: ‘When the case goes to court, we need to answer all these questions”.
Don’t they read the newspapers? Didn’t theSun name the judge after which the Bar Council and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers commented on it? My answer: “This was previously reported in theSun. Please refer to the papers.”