KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — The investigating officer (IO) in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) probing Teoh Beng Hock’s death will investigate the mystery note found in the DAP aide’s bag.
RCI chairman Tan Sri James Foong (pic) also said that the panel’s IO Michael Leslie Squires will investigate the pen found in the pocket of Teoh’s blazer, after a police IO admitted that he had not examined it.
“This should have been done a long, long time ago,” said Foong at the inquiry today.
Police IO ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal testified last Friday that Teoh likely wrote the mystery note found in his bag, but failed to back his claim with evidence.
He said he did not investigate if the ink on the note matched the ink from a pen found in Teoh’s pocket.
The integrity of the controversial document, which has been speculated to be a suicide note, was disputed after it was tendered as evidence last August towards the end of the coroner’s inquest.
Ahmad Nazri said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had given Teoh the pen during a function the day before at Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, the same building where the former was brought in as a witness on July 15, 2009, to assist anti-graft investigations against his boss Ean Yong Hian Wah.
Teoh was found dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam the next day after an overnight interrogation by MACC officers on the 14th floor of the same building.
Foong, a sitting Federal Court judge, said today that Squires could check the colour of the pen ink and other identifying characteristics.
Squires, a former chief investigator in Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), was appointed last Thursday as the RCI’s investigating officer.
The panel said that the former British police detective 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 came after Ahmad Nazri admitted to bungling investigations twice.
The RCI had ordered 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’s death.
The instruction came after Ahmad Nazri admitted that he had not thoroughly searched a drainage hole near Teoh’s body for the watch, which could have indicated Teoh’s time of death.
The IO said, however, that he failed to locate the watch after a two-hour hunt last Wednesday.
Ahmad Nazri also confessed to making 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 last month.
The mystery note, allegedly written by Teoh before his fatal plunge at the then Selangor MACC headquarters, was widely panned after a court interpreter admitted to using Google services to translate the note.
Court interpreter Ting Chin Kin told the coroner’s inquest last September that she did not use a dictionary for her work, but instead used Google Translate — a free online language translation service.
The inquiry resumes tomorrow.