By Boo Su-Lyn
KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah was cleared of abusing state funds but Teoh Beng Hock’s death stopped a further probe on possible cheating and abuse of power, a royal panel was told today.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters’ investigating officer (IO) Ahmad Shafik Abdul Rahman told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) today he could not conduct further investigations against Ean Yong as Teoh’s testimony was crucial.
He had said last week that Ean Yong was innocent of abusing state funds as all projects were completed in 2008.
“Teoh Beng Hock’s testimony was the most important,” said Ahmad Shafik at the inquiry today.
“Even though investigations were under Section 18 (of the MACC Act 2009), investigations could be directed elsewhere, like Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, which is on the abuse of position, or other alternatives related to this case like cheating under the Penal Code,” he added.
The IO, who took over investigations from Selangor MACC in August 2009, said his superiors ordered him to limit his investigations to a claim that Ean Yong was abusing state funds.
“We couldn’t investigate other offences because perhaps we couldn’t get necessary testimonies, like Teoh Beng Hock’s,” said Ahmad Shafik.
Teoh was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after he was questioned overnight by MACC officers at their then-Selangor headquarters on the 14th floor.
Teoh, 30, had been the political secretary to Ean Yong, who is the Seri Kembangan assemblyman from the DAP.
The graftbusters were investigating a claim that his boss was abusing state funds.
Ahmad Shafik said investigations showed that government projects in the Seri Kembangan constituency had been completed in 2008.
“Lee Wye Wing (did those projects) using licenses from other companies,” said the 32-year-old IO, referring to Bumiputera companies.
He added that various payments made to a DAP branch in relation to three projects, all costing RM10,000 and below, were reimbursements for advance payments, based on Lee’s testimony.
But Ahmad Shafik, dressed in a suit, said the businessman did not provide him receipts supporting those payments to Serdang Aman DAP.
“The receipts given to me were not related to those four programmes,” said Ahmad Shafik, adding that one of the government programmes was in the Kampung Tunku constituency under assemblyman Lau Weng San.
MACC lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah suggested recently that Teoh had been restless hours before he died as he was guilty of using government projects to fund the DAP.
Shafee said that three payment vouchers, which the MACC had found in Lee’s home, revealed allocations for Serdang Aman DAP, ranging from 30 to almost 90 per cent of the contracts’ values.
Ean Yong, however, has denied that Teoh or the DAP ever took kickbacks from contractors or suppliers.
Ahmad Shafik has also testified that the public prosecutor ordered the MACC to drop investigations against Ean Yong due to lack of evidence.
The IO said today, however, that Teoh, Ean Yong and Lee could have been targeted as suspects for cheating, whether directly or as accomplices.
“For government projects, one of the conditions is the company must be a Bumiputera company,” said Ahmad Shafik.
“But what happens is many non-Bumiputera (companies) will use Bumiputera licences to get government projects, like what happened in this case... if this happens, there is the essence of cheating under the Penal Code,” he added.
The senior graftbuster, who has worked as an IO for six years, said this was akin to deceiving the government.
Salesman Mohd Harun Abdullah testified today that his relatives had set up three companies, but it was Lee who ran the companies without his or his relatives’ involvement.
“I was only involved once,” said Harun.
He added that Lee gave 10 per cent commissions for government projects costing RM1,000 to RM5,000 and five per cent commissions for projects exceeding RM5,000.
Harun said the companies were closed down after an MACC investigation on July 15, 2009.
Ahmad Shafik also noted that Teoh’s demise had halted overall investigations, which were still at an early stage.
“These investigations were stuck halfway because of Teoh Beng Hock’s death,” said the IO.
“We got basic testimonies for Section 18 only. I only depended on Lee Wye Wing’s testimony,” he added.
Ahmad Shafik also said there was insufficient evidence to prove that Ean Yong had committed other offences like cheating and abusing his position.
“If it’s 50-50 or not enough testimony, we can’t propose [to further investigate other offences],” he said.
The inquiry resumes tomorrow with Ean Yong on the witness stand.
The RCI, which is chaired by sitting Federal Court judge Tan Sri James Foong, has until June 25 to present its report to the King.
Foong said the commission expects all witnesses to complete testifying by next week.