January 29, 2016
Malaysia: The Crony Attorney-General has plenty to answer for dereliction of public duty
The controversy over the decision not to charge the Prime Minister for any wrongdoing in the RM2.6 billion donation saga continued today when a member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) review panel questioned why the Attorney-General (A-G), Apandi Ali, did not help investigators in the probe.
Lim Chee Wee said the A-G was legally obliged to explain why he did not facilitate MACC’s request to access foreign bank statements through the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA), to check on the money trail of the RM2.6 billion which was credited into Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts. This, he said, was to dispel any speculation of a cover-up.
Lim, the former Malaysian Bar President, said the A-G was also wrong to order the anti-graft body to close its investigations, adding that his power was only to decide whether to prosecute or not.
He said it was “arguable” that the A-G was legally obliged to provide assistance to MACC through MLA.
“The A-G is equally obliged in law to explain why he is not facilitating MACC’s investigations of the money trail of RM2.6 billion as disclosed by MACC in its 31 December 2015 press statement, by providing his consent for Mutual Legal Assistance which would allow MACC access to bank statements of banks operating overseas, through which the funds moved.
“Again this would help dispel the speculation of a cover-up by A-G and that the alleged donation is allegedly KWAP money,” Lim said, referring to the pension fund, in a statement today.
He added that the A-G was also under legal obligation to give detailed and satisfactory reasons to the public as to why he disagrees with the recommendation of any law enforcement agency, more so when the investigation involves a high profile suspect, for example a Prime Minister.
“For instance, A-G at his press conference held up a flowchart which showed the flow and utilisation of the funds of the alleged donation.Having done so and regardless, he should give details of the alleged donation and return of part of the donation, and alleged proper use of part of the donation, by assuring the public that he is satisfied with the existence and substantive truth of documentary proof of source, movement and return of funds, and that the funds were not used for personal benefit, for example it was not used to pay for credit card expenses, which is currently the subject of speculation,” Lim added.
Lim also called on the public to assure the A-G of their support to uphold his oath of office, adding that the support of the Malaysian people was worth more than one individual.
“The A-G’s decision to prosecute or not to prosecute can be challenged by any taxpayer in any courtroom, or questioned by anyone in any living room, meeting room, boardroom, or even coffee shop.In other words, A-G does not have absolute discretion in his prosecutorial powers, this is the legal position in Malaysia, Singapore and United Kingdom.
“The A-G must not be fearful of the power nor position of any individual and whilst he may suffer the same fate as his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Gani if he were to prosecute, he has the support of the public and more importantly he will be upholding his oath of office,” Lim said, referring to the earlier A-G who was removed from office at the height of the investigations into the alleged financial scandal involving the Prime Minister.