STATEMENT BY GOBIND SINGH DEO:
The Attorney-General's response to the US DO
J suit yesterday raises serious concerns.
Firstly, and with respect, he should decide where he stands. Is he the defence lawyer for the Prime Minister or is the Public Prosecutor of Malaysia?
To my mind, he should not be leaping to the Prime Minister’s defence. He should maintain his independence and be open to the fact that serious allegations have been made in the suit which may lead to him having to reopen the case here at some stage.
Making broad comments and issuing veiled warnings to the effect that he has “strong concerns at insinuations and allegations” made against the Prime Minister at this stage seriously undermines public confidence in his office as Public Prosecutor.
The Prime Minister is capable of looking after himself. The Public Prosecutor should remain impartial and independent.
Apandi should also not hide behind legal semantics in attempting to fend off concerns expressed over the liability of “Malaysian Official 1” in the suit.
He says the there has been no evidence which shows that money has been misappropriated from 1MDB and there have been no criminal charges preferred against any individuals for offences of misappropriation of funds from 1MDB.
Again, with respect, that isn't the point.
It is not the label but the substance which counts. Whether or not there has been conduct which warrants criminal prosecution depends on the facts of each case.
For example, in a civil suit for damages arising from assault, it is true that the suit filed would be civil in nature but the allegation of assault therein may be sufficient to support a criminal prosecution as well. Likewise, in a case in which a suit is filed to recover monies allegedly wrongly used, wrongly channelled or otherwise. The same facts could warrant a criminal investigation and criminal charge as well.
So, to say that particular individuals have not been named or that no criminal charges have been preferred against any individual does not justify a closure to the subject of discussion altogether.
In this case, Apandi should start by telling us who Malaysian Official 1 is.
Apandi must further respond to the questions posed by DAP MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua yesterday when he asked:
“page 75, paragraph 263 of the document states that Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had cleared Malaysian Official 1 in the inquiry on US$681 million.”
He therefore called on Apandi to explain the latter's claim that the money channelled into those accounts was from an Arab donor.
Tony said the documents from DOJ suggest that the US$681 million originated from a US$3 billion bond 1MDB raised.
This strikes at the heart of the propriety of the decision made by Apandi. This must now, in light of the suit, be addressed.
In addition to this, Apandi must now tell us if it is true that the MACC had asked him to assist in the form of an application for mutual assistance in investigations into the case.
If so, did he reject it as alleged and if he did, does that mean that Malaysia is now in no position to dispute the facts in the DOJ suit for the simple reason that no full inquiry was conducted into the matter for failure on his part to obtain mutual assistance as alleged?
These are serious matters of public interest which warrant a public response. I call upon the Attorney General not to shy away from these questions and to respond forthwith.
*Gobind Singh Deo is DAP's Chairman of National Legal Bureau and Member of Parliament, Puchong.
** The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not reflect the view of Astro AWANI.