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Friday, December 4, 2009

MACC witness: I will even follow wrongful orders

A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) witness caused a stir in court today when she said she would follow the commission’s orders blindly, regardless if they were wrong or right.
The witness, Penang-based MACC officer Norliza Musa, who was testifying in the graft trial involving two former Perak PKR state executive councillors, also told the court that she would only exercise her duties as an officer to combat graft if she were told to do so by her superiors in the commission.
Her admission, which came during cross-examination by defence counsel Abdul Roni Rahman, caused snickers from the five accused seated in the dock and a look of surprise from Sessions Court Judge Azhaniz Teh Azman Teh who was presiding over the case.
The five are former PKR state executive councillors Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, PKR politician Usaili Alias, former Perak Tengah district councillor Zul Hassan and businessman Fairul Azrim Ismail.
All five face charges for accepting bribes in exchange for helping Mohamad Imran Abdullah, MACC’s agent provocateur, to obtain a RM180mil housing development project in Seri Iskandar last year.
Abdul Roni: As an MACC officer, if there is a transaction of giving and receiving bribes occurring in front of you, you have the power to make arrests, yes?
Norliza: Yes I agree.
Abdul Roni: When an exchange of bribes occurs in front of you, you do not need orders from your superiors to make the arrest because it is obviously an offence, correct?
Norliza: I disagree.
Abdul Roni: (Raises eyebrows in surprise) Huh? You disagree? Is it not the same as when a robbery occurs, for example, do not tell me that a policeman needs approval from the OCPD first before he makes an arrest?
Norliza: No.
Abdul Roni: So then similarly, if there is a transaction (bribe), you do not need to wait for approval from your superiors right?
Norliza: Whatever it is, I will wait for orders from my superiors before I take any action.
Abdul Roni: Do you agree that your superiors have a specific agenda to catch assemblymen?
Norliza: I disagree.
Abdul Roni: So although you have the power to make arrests at the time (of the case), you just waited for orders?
Norliza: Yes.
Abdul Roni: And even if the orders were wrongful in any way, you would follow them?
Norliza: I am not sure.
At this juncture, a smiling Judge Azhaniz Teh cut in to say, “What? This is an agree or disagree question. There is no such thing as ‘not sure’. What is your answer?”.
Looking embarrassed, Norliza smiled and said, “I agree.”
The defence counsel had raised the matter in relation to the number of occasions that money had exchanged hands in the case prior to the arrests but no arrests had been made.
Throughout the trial, the defence team had been attempting to prove their case that the MACC had deliberately intended to trap both the former state executive councillors Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman in order to topple the previous Perak Pakatan Rakyat government.
They had been contending that the reason why arrests had not been made until Aug 19 last year despite several exchanges of alleged bribes, was because the two men had not been the ones to physically receive the cash.
Later, Norliza, who had posed as Mohamad Imran’s girlfriend throughout the case, made the same admission in court that her colleague had made in his testimonies earlier, that Jamaluddin had neither personally received a bribe of RM5,000 nor solicited for it.
Abdul Roni: In Jamaluddin’s office (in the Perak State Secretariat, during a meeting on Aug 14) Mohamad Imran had said he had brought money for the (Permatang Pauh) by-election?
Norliza: It was Usaili who said that.
Abdul Roni: Usaili mentioned the by-election after Mohamad Imran said ‘I brought a contribution’.
Norliza: Yes.
Abdul Roni: Mohamad Imran took out the money but Jamaluddin did not accept it.
Norliza: No he did accept it, through Usaili.
Abdul Roni: No, no. What I meant was, did Jamaluddin touch the money?
Judge Azhaniz Teh interrupted to repeat the question for Abdul Roni, “Did Jamaluddin physically accept the money?”.
The judge shook his head as he recorded Norliza’s response of “No”.
Abdul Roni: At any time when you were present, did Jamaluddin hold the money?
Norliza: No.
Abdul Roni: Did Jamaluddin, Usaili or Mohamad Imran count the money?
Norliza: I do not remember.
Abdul Roni: Did you know that at the time, Jamaluddin was the treasurer for Perak PKR?
Norliza: I did not know.
Abdul Roni: Did you know that Usaili was the elections director for the Permatang Pauh by-election?
Norliza: I did not know.
Abdul Roni: Did you know that both of them are responsible for sourcing for financial aid to help PKR in the by-election?
Norliza: I did not know.
Abdul Roni: In the office, did Jamaluddin ever ask for the RM5,000 from Mohamad Imran?
Norliza: No.
Abdul Roni: Did Usaili ask for the money?
Norliza: In Jamaluddin’s office, no.
Abdul Roni: What about Mohd Osman, after you left the office, did you see him and did he ask for money?
Norliza: No.
Abdul Roni: From that day until the meeting with Mohd Osman (on Aug 16) at the Aquarius Coffeehouse (in Summit Hotel, Bukit Mertajam), did Mohd Osman ever ask for money?
Norliza: No.
The trial continues tomorrow.
 The Malaysian Insider

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