By Leslie Lau
KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, the police officer who investigated Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black-eye beating in 1998, has accused the country's top lawyer and police chief of fabricating evidence in the assault but cleared Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of any wrong-doing.
He claimed he was told by the then prime minister to ensure there was no cover-up in the investigations, according to a statement of claim made by him in a suit filed against the opposition leader.
But the former investigator now implicates Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan in what he claims was an attempt to introduce a medical report which he found suspicious.
According to his statement of claims which was obtained by The Malaysian Insider, the medical report prepared by a Dr Abdul Rahman Yusof from Hospital Kuala Lumpur had suggested Anwar’s injuries were self-inflicted.
Instead, Mat Zain asserts in his statement of claim that he had taken all possible steps to prevent the medical report prepared by Dr Abdul Rahman from being included in his investigation papers.
Mat Zain filed a RM30 million defamation suit against Anwar last year after the Pakatan Rakyat leader claimed that Abdul Gani, who was a senior deputy public prosecutor then, and Musa, who was an investigating officer, had fabricated evidence against him in the black-eye assault.
Tan Sri Rahim Noor, the Inspector-General of Police in 1998, later admitted he had assaulted Anwar following a Royal Commission of Inquiry probe in 1999.
Besides Mat Zain, Musa has also filed a defamation suit against Anwar.
The statements of claim made by both Musa and Mat Zain have been admitted as part of an affidavit filed by Anwar for his Sodomy II trial which starts in July.
Anwar had claimed trial last August to sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, his second sodomy case in a decade.
Mat Zain, who declined comment on the details of his lawsuit, told The Malaysian Insider however that he had decided to sue Anwar to clear his name because unlike Abdul Gani and Musa he had not been officially cleared of the allegations of abuse of power.
Yesterday, Mat Zain, who retired as the Kuala Lumpur CID chief, claimed there was a high-level plot using a bankruptcy notice to destroy his credibility ahead of several cases including Anwar’s sodomy trial.
State news agency Bernama had on Wednesday reported that Mat Zain was declared a bankrupt on April 21 for failing to settle a RM250,000 loan and was served with the notice on May 26. The news was carried by several Malaysian publications including The Malaysian Insider which subscribes to the Bernama service.
“I say with certainty that there are very powerful hidden hands that wanted it so. Their reasons are to destroy my credibility and/or to paralyse my capabilities and prevent me from giving evidence against Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan for fabricating evidence in the ‘black-eye’ case of 1998 involving Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” said Mat Zain in a statement.
Mat Zain claimed the bankruptcy notice is related to his appeal to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board to clear his name after the anti-graft agency cleared only Gani and Musa from charges of fabrication lodged by Anwar.
“I have reasons to believe that the prosecution team anticipated that Anwar will certainly raise at certain points of his trial the issue of fabrication of evidence in the black-eye case. My evidence would be vital at this stage. Their only option is to destroy my credibility.”
In his statement of claim, Mat Zain points out that he had been instructed by Rahim, the IGP then, to head an investigation into Anwar’s allegation on Sept 27, 1998 that he had been assaulted while in police lock-up.
Anwar had been detained by police on Sept 20,1998, just 18 days after he had been sacked by Dr Mahathir as deputy prime minister. The widespread public protests and his subsequent sodomy trial led to the birth of the Reformasi movement.
In his suit against Anwar filed last August, Mat Zain states that he had accompanied two forensic specialists — Dr Halim Mansar and Dr Zahari Noor — to conduct a medical examination on Anwar on the day he started his probe.
He met Rahim later that night and was instructed by his boss “to leave no stone unturned” to protect the integrity of the police.
On Oct 16, Mat Zain claims he was told by the Attorney-General then to liaise with Abdul Gani on all matters related to the probe.
Ten days later he met with Abdul Gani at the latter’s office and was then introduced to Dr Abdul Rahman. The medical expert then signed a medical report and handed it over to Mat Zain.
Mat Zain then claims that he had objected to Dr Abdul Rahman’s report because it also contained personal attacks against Dr Halim, one of the original medical experts in the case.
He claimed further that on further enquiries, he had discovered that Dr Halim had previously lodged a police report against Dr Abdul Rahman for “criminal intimidation.”
On Oct 28, 1998, Mat Zain said he had come to the conclusion that Dr Abdul Rahman had never examined Anwar. He also claimed to have discovered that Abdul Gani had been present on the 30th floor of Bukit Aman on the night that Rahim assaulted Anwar.
Two days later, Mat Zain claimed that he submitted to Abdul Gani his investigation papers which asserted among other matters that Anwar’s injuries were consistent with an assault and that they were not self-inflicted. Mat Zain also asserted that he believed Rahim was the person who had assaulted Anwar.
The two men — Mat Zain and Abdul Gani — had a heated argument over the findings of the probe, according to the statement of claim.
Later that year on Dec 12, Musa, who is now the IGP, had asked Mat Zain to attend a meeting at Bukit Aman with Abdul Gani and Dr Abdul Rahman. At the meeting he was asked to accompany Dr Abdul Rahman for a visit to the lock-up in which Anwar had been held.
The next day, Mat Zain claims he took Dr Abdul Rahman to the lock-up, but points out that he left the doctor on his own in the room.
On Dec 31, 1998, Mat Zain claims that his investigation papers were returned to him. The papers included a second undated medical report by Dr Abdul Rahman.
In the second medical report, Mat Zain claims it was stated he had accompanied Dr Abdul Rahman and aided in a reconstruction of events, which he says was not true.
The initial police investigations prompted Dr Mahathir to suggest Anwar's black-eye could have been self-inflicted, an allegation that was later found to be untrue.
Mat Zain claims that he investigated the black-eye incident without fear or favour and had his statement recorded five times by the precursor to MACC, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) when Anwar lodged a report on July 1, 2008 that Abdul Gani, Musa, Mat Zain and Dr Abdul Rahman had falsified a medical report on the assault case.
But MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan announced on March 3 that a three-member independent panel led by the Solicitor-General had scrutinised the investigation papers and cleared Abdul Gani and Musa of criminal wrongdoing, prompting Mat Zain to later appeal the findings.