‘MACC officers were instructed to lie’

Teoh El Sen
Free Malaysia Today
May 9, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer had pleaded to her superior to order his subordinates not to give false statements in the Teoh Beng Hock case.

Senior investigating officer Azian Umar, 31, said this today when questioned by Bar Council’s Cheow Wee at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigating Teoh’s death.

Cheow read out a SMS text message sent by Azian to Selangor MACC investigation department chief Hairul Ilham Hamzah in which she said “this is a big case, it involves a person’s life, if (we) lie once, then we need to lie many times more to support the lie”.

In the SMS, in which she expressed sadness at what had happened in Teoh’s case, she also said the incident with Teoh may be God’s “divine retribution” to MACC.

“Kita terlalu mengejar material, kita abaikan perintahnya…. (we were chasing after materials, we had neglected His commandments),” she wrote in the message.

Azian, who was one of the first MACC officers called during the early stages of the RCI in February, was this afternoon recalled for the Bar Council to question her on several “important issues”.

When questioned on the reasons she sent the SMS on July 17 at 7pm, a day after Teoh’s death, Azian confessed that there were meetings where officers were instructed to “lie”.

On April 27, assistant superintendent Azeem Hafeez Jamaluddin shocked the RCI by confessing to being instructed to cover up the role of the then Selangor MACC deputy director, Hishamuddin Hashim.

“The operation (against Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah) was led by Hishamuddin, but in the discussion, Hishamuddin asked that it be said the operation was ordered by Hairul (Ilham Hamzah),” Azeem had said.

Second meeting

Azeem had also testified that there was also a meeting chaired by then MACC investigations director Mohd Shukri Abdull to discuss how to testify at the coroner’s inquest into Teoh’s death.

Today, Azian testified to the same.

Cheow: You were not directly involved in the operation, so I ask for your assistance to tell the truth. When (Teoh’s) body was found, was there any conversation, discussion or meeting in MACC on how to answer in the inquest?

Azian: Yes

Cheow: Can you tell us who is the one who ordered this meeting? Who called for the meeting?

Azian: Hishamuddin was the one who chaired the meeting.

Azian said the others present included Hairul Ilham and the then investigating officer for the case, Mohd Anuar Ismail.

She also confirmed that a second meeting with Mohd Shukri took place and officers were told how to answer questions at the inquest.

She said that DPP Kevin Morais and Hishamuddin were also present and had also given their views on the same matter.

She added that she was aware that there were a few other meetings to discuss the same issue, but was unsure how many.

Down and dispirited

Azian said she felt “down and dispirited” when she got to know of Teoh’s death, adding that it was “because we worked morning to night and suddenly something like that happened. I felt as if I don’t want to work anymore”.

When asked by both Cheow and MACC lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if the only instruction given to officers was asking them to lie about
Hishamuddin’s involvement, Azian repeatedly replied in the affirmative.

She also denied Cheow’s suggestion that Hairul Ilham was the one instructing his men to lie, saying she sent the SMS to him because she was closer to him.

Azian said that she did not disclose this earlier in her testimony because she was not asked, but admitted that she regretted for not telling it to the RCI.

She said that Hishamuddin was the “boss” of the Seri Kembangan operation but denied that he was physically involved.

She also admitted that she was “tremendously disturbed” that meetings were carried out and prayer times often ignored.

Azian also confessed that MACC’s head of prosecution, senior federal counsel Abdul Razak Musa, had previously alerted her to the incriminating SMS.

Cheow alleged that Azian had already expected the question, to which Azian agreed.

Cheow: Who had referred you to this SMS? You had expected me to ask you this question.

Azian: The SFC.

Cheow: What’s that? KFC, I know lah.

Azian: Abdul Razak Musa… the senior federal counsel.

She said she was called up by him and met him before she gave her first testimony in court.

This prompted RCI chairman James Foong to accuse Azian of being coached and Azian admitted that Abdul Razak told her to only answer questions that are asked.

Foong then asked Shafee if he was aware, but the latter denied it.

Foong: Are you sure you do not know anything about this? I am concerned about SFC practically coaching witnesses, telling them what to do… don’t you think this is very unethical and very immoral?

Shafee: I don’t want to say it amounts to coaching yet. It is very normal for counsel to speak to their witnesses. But in this case, I think he just wanted to know what the SMS was all about.

Foong: He was at the inquest; why does he need to call up this woman (Azian)?

Shafee: He is still a person in charge of legal matters, his deputy is Kevin Morais. They are both involved in matters involving the law in MACC. I would not conclude it is a dishonest act.

Foong: Things were so bad at the inquest that we need to have this inquiry. Why does Abdul Razak want to get involved again?

However, the question went unanswered.

Later, Azian also testified that she sent another SMS expressing her worry of “repercussions of their actions”.

She said that she was worried because she felt that the officers were “not safe”.

She added that the investigations in Selangor continued despite Teoh’s death and there have been officers who were followed by unknown men.

When asked of Hishamuddin’s character, Azian said: “He is a workaholic. The men are afraid of him, very fierce.”

However, when asked if she would lie for him, she said: “I don’t know for the others, but for me, no.”

  1. #1 by negarawan on Monday, 9 May 2011 - 11:07 pm

    All the MACC officers involved in the interrogation should be collectively charged with murder.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 7:51 am

    Azian is one of the rare birds within MACC institutional/hierarchical setting who is strong enough to be disturbed by the norms within that setting.

    An organisation empowered by law to investigate & enforce anti corruption laws becomes a law unto itself. Power corrupts. Some individuals in that institutional setting soon play God.

    The institutional-structural setting (interrogation rooms where one has absolute power to do anything to the one interrogated, protected by the Code of Silence/Esprit de Corps of one’s colleagues) provides the kind of non accountability that enhances or brings out the aggressive and brutal behavior ….

    Azian is material for promotion as organisation needs people with conscience & a sense to distinguish right from wrong. But Alas such persons invariably never are. They are considered outcast for betraying group’s norms, one who spills the beans on superiors. The wrong aggressive alpha types are, instead!

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 7:52 am

    Again, let me repeat. MACC have to be shut down and rebuilt from scratch. Its past top officer’s pension cancelled and charged with defrauding the rakyat.

  4. #4 by dagen on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 9:29 am

    Yes, I think the answer is right there – just a little beneath the surface. Some slight scratching at the surface should complete the task. In fact even now, parts of the answer is already exposed. And that was enough for us to conclude (I believe) that beng hock was in fact killed; and to determine his killer.

    That is good news. But not good enough. We want to know the killer’s real motive for killing beng hock. If he has none, then could he have killed beng hock for fun? Obviously not. If he has no motive to kill beng hock, then (barring accidents, which was never raised at all right from the begining) the killer must be acting under instructions. So who instructed him? What were those instructions?

    Perhaps toyo-the-indon has something to tell us. Perhaps, umno is now shaking badly inside its boots.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 9:44 am

    //the killer’s real motive for killing //

    It is so clear— the take-over of the Selangor state govt once TBH is forced to implicate the dap in corrupt deals. On hindsight, umno should had let saifool lodge a police report that TBH had sodded him. Then he jumped out of the window for fear of being charged for sodomee.

  6. #6 by k1980 on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 9:45 am

    // toyo-the-indon has something to tell us//

    If TBH had a RM24 million palace like the toyol’s, the macc would not had bothered about him

  7. #7 by on cheng on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - 10:39 am

    MACC? Malaysia All Corrupted Crooks ?

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