KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) will resort to foreign expertise as it seeks to unearth the truth behind Teoh Beng Hock’s death.
A former chief investigator in Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was appointed today as the RCI’s investigating officer. He will probe the former DAP aide’s untimely death and his prior interrogation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
In a press statement today, the panel said that former British police detective Michael Leslie Squires will “have all powers in relation to investigation given to police officers… and is authorised to search any premises and take possession of any articles or documents relating to the matter being investigated.”
The announcement comes after the case’s original investigating officer, ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal, admitted to bungling twice in investigations up to now.
The RCI had to order him to return to the site where Teoh’s body had been discovered to search for a missing watch, almost two years after the political secretary was found dead on July 16, 2009, after he had admitted that he had not searched a drainage hole near Teoh’s body for the watch which could have indicated the time of death.
Ahmad Nazri had also said today that he had made a mistake in identifying MACC officers in his testimony during the 17-month long coroner’s inquest, which had returned an “open verdict” ruling out both suicide and homicide.
The 58-year-old Squires has 30 years of official enforcement experience including 11 years as chief investigator in the ICAC before he retired in 2001 to become an investigative consultant.
When the MACC was first mooted by the government in 2008, it had said that the anti-graft body would be modelled after the ICAC.
According to the RCI, Squires has received various commendations from the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the Commissioner of the ICAC, the Director of the United States Secret Service and Director of the United States Customs Service.
The RCI also said that Dr Peter Vanezis, the forensic expert who represented the MACC in the inquest, had agreed to testify in the RCI.
Teoh, 30, had been the political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah and a witness in MACC investigations into his employer for suspected abuse of state funds.
The young man fell nine floors to his death after an overnight interrogation by MACC officers.