by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com
EXCLUSIVE New information shedding more light on a bizarre five-year-old case allegedly involving the country's most powerful police officer, the attorney-general and an underworld figure has emerged.
Malaysiakini has possession of documents revealing the history of how a number of whistleblowers - whose information lead to the arrest of Johor crime kingpin, Goh Cheng Poh aka Tengku Goh in 2007 - were forced to implicate six police officers investigating the case.
The whistleblowers signed sworn statements claiming that they were turned over by a team of Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) officers. The ACA has since morphed into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2009.
The six Police Officers were subsequently charged with fabricating evidence against Tengku Goh - an alleged gambling and money-laundering kingpin - only to be eventually acquitted, the last of them in mid-2011.Their four-year ordeal began when they, on the orders of then Deputy Home Minister Johari Baharum, began investigating Tengku Goh (For his role in this convoluted scandal, Johari himself was accused of corruption and was investigated by ACA - see 'Tit for tat' chart below).
He had instructed then Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) chief Ramli Yusuff, previously Pahang police chief, to take on the menace.
Ramli assembled a team of half a dozen men which and during the course of their work unearthed the role of Musa Hassan (left), the former Johor police chief who in 2006 was tapped as the Inspector-General of Police.
The CCID probe revealed that while Musa - during his stint in Johor - had closed down most of the gambling and money-lending syndicates in the southern state, he however helped to "reorganise" the remainder few to operate under an "umbrella" syndicate controlled by Tengku Goh.
Armed with information from underworld informants, the CCID arrested Tengku Goh and he was dispatched to remote Jeli, Kelantan, and placed under restricted residence.
The confidential 'cicero' files
But then, events took a strange twist. Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail (right) stepped in and he was alleged to have used the ACA to access highly confidential files (dubbed the "cicero") on the case.
It is understood that no one, including the IGP and AG, was allowed to have access to the ‘cicero' files since a particular handling officer had been entrusted with them.
The move to use the ACA to intervene in the case sparked a huge uproar in the CCID as this amounted to interference in police work.
Nevertheless, the CCID was ordered to hand over the confidential files to the A-G's Chambers, and as a result the cicero papers landed on the ACA's desk.
With the information from the confidential files, the ACA hunted down the whistleblowers whose information led to Tengku Goh's arrest. The ACA used intimidation, fear tactics and days of interrogation to force the whistleblowers to change their previous statements.
Court documents in Tengku Goh's habeas corpus application also state that the kingpin's arrest and detention were not in accordance with the law as the action had been taken without the prior approval of IGP Musa.
With the informants changing their statements, Tengku Goh was eventually released from his restricted residence in Kelantan and he was allowed to return to Johor.
Malaysiakini had in 2007 published a special report on the scandal, piecing together information in the strange conflict within the very top echelon of the Police Force.
Last month, Ramli in his 60th birthday speech accused the A-G's Chambers of reneging on its duty to draft affidavits in reply to Tengku Goh's habeas corpus application, resulting in Johari and Ramli having to seek lawyer Rosli Dahlan's help.
How ACA turned over the whistleblowers
A number of statutory declarations obtained by Malaysiakini, dated September 2007, relate how the ACA had coerced the whistleblowers to change their testimony .According to one informant, the ACA officers visited his home and told him that it was "a pity for Tengku Goh to be thrown in a Malay kampong, and this was discriminatory (aniaya) to Tengku".
"The officer also asked whether I knew Tengku was betrayed because he is a friend of IGP Musa. I did not know whether this was a serious or funny question. This got me worried.
"The officer also said the ACA was on Musa's side. I did not know what he meant and I was given a warning not to lie as the real thing was known by the ACA given that ‘all the secrets had been revealed'.
"I did not protest at what he said, but this made me even more worried," says the informant in the statutory declaration.
The whistleblower added that the ACA officers wanted him to "cooperate" with the anti-graft body so the matter could be closed.
He eventually succumbed to the ACA's request after five straight days of interrogation, and he was shown photographs to identify the police officers who took his statement.
"I made this statutory declaration (on the turnover) voluntarily as I fear for my family and my safety given that the information which I had given (earlier to the police) had been leaked.
"Others will now be scared to give information as they will be afraid that their identities can be compromised," laments the informant in the sworn statement.
Identities of Police Informants exposed
Another individual said in his statutory declaration that he was neither afraid of the police or ACA but feared that the frequency of having the anti-graft body contact him would make it more likely for word to get out to the underworld that he was a possible informant leading to Goh's arrest.
This, he said, would endanger his and his family's lives. Yet another whistleblower who made a statutory declaration said he had asked the ACA officer interrogating him whether Tengku Goh's men knew about the matter and the response was "yes".
"I inquired that if Tengku Goh was released, can the ACA protect me and he replied that if I cooperate with the ACA, I will be given protection. I told him I was not afraid of the police or ACA, but the gangsters hired by the kingpin.
"Before leaving the interrogation room, an ACA officer showed his pistol and said the ACA is as strong as the police. The police are more afraid of the ACA and you should not be afraid of the police.
"I am more confused over the ACA officer's remark, which seemed to come across to me like a form of intimidation," says the informant in his sworn statement.
Ramli volunteers to testify in tribunal
Malaysiakini has asked Musa to respond to the accusation that he and A-G Abdul Gani had fixed Ramli and his men, and allegedly protected an underworld figure. He gave a curt response: "That you have to ask the A-G." Ramli (right), when contacted by Malaysiakini to verify the facts and allegations in the statutory declarations, said he was willing to testify should there be a tribunal set up by Parliament against the former Police Chief and the A-G..
He added that he has new evidence regarding Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's black-eye incident and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chairperson Tajuddin Ramli - the two incidences which he was personally involved in when he was in the Police Force.
Ramli, in his birthday speech last February 29, revealed how the ACA was used by Abdul Gani to help Musa nail him and his men, where they were charged of wrongdoing but were eventually acquitted by the court.
The former CCID Chief had also in 2007 said that he suspected something was amiss in the ACA probe in which, he alleged, he and his officers had been victimised.Both Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and Pokok Sena MP Dato' Mahfuz Omar have previously called for a tribunal to be set up by the Parliament to put Abdul Gani and Musa on trial.