June 10, 2015
COMMENT: I have been following and writing about the cases of Dato Ramli and his brilliant and gutsy lawyer Rosli Dahlan over several years. What emerges from their battles with the MACC and the Attorney-General via our courts confirms that the culture of impunity is deeply entrenched in our system of governance.
Both these organizations feel that they can use their power without accountability to punish citizens at will. Most Malaysians suffer in silence but not Rosli Dahlan and his client, Dato Ramli Yusuff.They went to our courts and won but only at a huge cost in terms of time attending court sessions, emotional pain and stress, and money.
I once asked Lawyer Rosli why he had to go after both MACC Chief Abu Kassim and Attorney-General Gani Patail now. He told me that he was delighted to have been cleared by the courts of those charges. He said that he wanted to redeem his professional reputation and personal integrity since both Abu Kassim and Gani Patail were responsible for dragging him needlessly to court in the first place. Then I said, mala fide? But Rosli did not respond. I suppose that is for the courts to decide.
The MACC Chief Commissioner and the Attorney-General do not respect our courts. Their staff too are arrogant and having sworn to tell “the truth nothing but the whole truth” they had the audacity to lie and contradict each other before the esteemed judge during testimony yesterday.
Even the findings of the Royal Commissions like those concerning the death of Teoh Beng Hock, the V K Lingam Correct, Correct video tape and Project IC (Sabah) can be put aside. They believe that nothing can happen to them. They think that they will not be punished for serving their political masters to silence dissent and put the fear of God in citizens who are defending their fundamental rights and seeking justice from our courts. They have shown that they are prepared to drag cases through various levels of our justice system since they have taxpayers’ money to underwrite their legal costs whereas victims of their irresponsible actions have to use their hard earned savings, or mortgage or sell their houses to defray court and legal expenses.
Their purpose is clear and that is they do not care if they lose their cases. They want put ordinary law abiding citizens through public humiliation and emotional hell so that we all can be cowed. We are fortunate have people like Rosli Dahlan and Dato’Ramli Yusuff who have the courage and stamina to defend their dignity and personal integrity, and seek justice.–Din Merican
Rosli Dahlan Vs MACC: MACC Witnesses contradict each other
The third day of the defence case in the court battle between lawyer Rosli Dahlan and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) continued today with defence witnesses making substantial concessions and appearing to contradict each other under cross-examination.
Taking the witness stand first, investigating officer Azmi Ismail began by denying knowledge of the case by answering “I don’t know” to a series of questions posed to him by Rosli’s counsel, Chetan Jethwani and Parvinder Kaur.
Chetan then pointed out to him that he was in fact the officer who effected service of the notice on Rosli and also the one who lodged a report against ex-Commercial Crimes Investigation Department chief Ramli Yusuff.
At this, his answers appeared to change to “I cannot remember” at one point, incurring a rebuke from presiding Judge Su Geok Yiam when he claimed not to know the circumstances surrounding the service of notice on Rosli.
Intense cross-examination of witnesses
The intense cross-examination which followed, however, appeared to yield several concessions and contradictions.
Azmi eventually admitted being aware that the cases between Rosli and Ramli were inter-connected and that Rosli was in actual fact merely a witness and not a suspect in the case.
He also admitted to being the officer who investigated allegations of corruption made against Ramli in 2007 although that had been “only for a while.”
When Chetan pressed him as to what he meant, Azmi replied, “I had recorded statements from three witnesses.”
“What did they say,” Chetan asked.
“They admitted they did not know Ramli and they never gave him bribes,” Azmi told the Court.
“Did you state these in your investigation papers,” Chetan asked further.
“Yes,” Azmi replied.
“Thereafter, I was asked to hand over my investigation papers to Saiful and I was taken off the case,” he said.
“I did not get involved anymore and don’t know what happened,” he added. “So, I don’t know much about the notice case.”
When asked where the witnesses were from, Azmi replied, “Perak,” adding, however, that he could not remember their names.
(In proceedings earlier this week, former MACC prosecutor Kevin Anthony Morais had alleged that notices had been issued to Ramli because there was information that Ramli had received bribes. Similarly, investigating officer Saiful Ezral Arifin had testified that MACC were in possession of witness statements containing allegations of bribery involving Ramli.)
Azmi went on to admit that during his time as the investigating officer in Ramli’s case he had never met, let alone interviewed, Moo Sai Chin.
He also testified that Moo had become untraceable after having implicated Ramli.
Azmi also told the court that investigating officers for the case had been specially selected, and that he had been instructed by his superiors to stand down, contradicting Saiful’s earlier testimony that the choice was random.
He also conceded that Rosli had been friendly and cooperative with him, even to the extent of sharing a meal when he attended to serve the notice on Rosli.
Azmi also told the court that an investigating officer will know when a suspect or witness in his case was arrested, contradicting Saiful’s testimony yesterday that he had no knowledge of Rosli’s arrest because he had been on leave.
Admitting that in the usual course a suspect would be released on bail after all formalities had been completed, Azmi told the court that the decision to charge Rosli, and the timing of his arrest, had been made by his superiors.
Rosli’s arrest as an “operation”
The next witness to take the stand for MACC was Augustine Manson who surprised observers by describing Rosli’s arrest as an “operation”.
Augustine, however, floundered several times when asked to identify which officer instructed the arrest, even contradicting his own witness statement.
Asked whether the answer in his witness statement was wrong, Augustine replied, “I don’t know. Can I explain? I was just instructed to participate in the ‘operation’.”
“Oh, so Rosli’s arrest was an ‘operation’, Chetan asked.
“Yes”, Augustine replied.
Augustine then sought to refer to an investigation diary which he claimed to have kept, detailing the arrest and the need to subdue him on account of his violent reaction.
“Do you agree you never mentioned about this diary in your witness statement or anywhere before,” Chetan asked.
“Yes, but I have it and can show it,” Augustine replied, forcing Chetan to apply to inspect the diary over the lunch break.
The afternoon’s proceedings then took an interesting turn with Chetan attempting to show that the diary had not been made contemporaneously with the event of the arrest.
Chetan: This morning you stated that from MACC HQ you went straight to Rosli’s office where Rosli was violent. Are you sure?
Chetan: Now look at the entry in your ID which states that you left MACC HQ and went to Tropicana, and not to his office.
Chetan: This is different from your testimony this morning.
Chetan: So, which is true?
Augustine: This morning I was wrong.
When Chetan pointed out that the visit to Tropicana was not stated in Augustine’s witness statement, Augustine replied, “Yes, witness statement and this morning not correct.”
Chetan: Do you know how far these places are from each other?
Augustine: Sorry, I am from Sarawak and only 1 year in KL, I don’t know these places well!
Chetan then sought to establish various other contradictions in the diary, including Augustine’s claim that the house which he went to was occupied by a Chinese family, pointing out that Rosli’s identity card bore its address.
“I can’t blame you for not knowing where you went, since you had just come from Sarawak then and because you said that you just followed Moses.”
The court then burst into laughter when someone in the gallery was heard saying, “Hopefully, he didn’t follow Moses across the Red Sea!”
Augustine brought more laughter upon himself when he sought to explain the proper way to make an arrest and to apply handcuffs, only to later admit that he has never administered handcuffs on suspects himself.
After a brief re-examination by MACC’s counsel Rishwant Singh, proceedings for the day ended with Justice Su noting that both sides appeared battle weary.
Their battle resumes tomorrow.