Is the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali guilty of conflict of interest when he decided that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had committed no criminal offence in the RM2.6 billion “donation” and SRC scandals?
Apandi should have withdrawn from the decision-making process on what actions should be taken on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation papers on Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and SRC scandals, and left the decisions to be taken by the Solicitor-General.
It is open history that Apandi was appointed by Najib in the most extraordinary of circumstances, when the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail was suddenly and shockingly sacked on July 28 purportedly on “health” reasons, which even took Gani by total surprise.
Up to now, the real reason for Gani’s sacking as Attorney-General had not been given to the Malaysian public, as he appeared very healthy and is even now starting on a new career as a legal consultant after having retired from the public service three months after he was sacked as Attorney-General – three months before his compulsory retirement.
It has been speculated in the public domain that the reason for Gani’s sacking was because the Attorney-General’s Chambers under Gani was preparing to charge the Prime Minister for corruption in connection with Najib’s world-class twin mega scandals.
Up to now, there has been no satisfactory answer on this issue, whether involving Najib as Prime Minister, Apandi as the current Attorney-General or Gani as the sacked Attorney-General.
These extraordinary circumstances of Apandi’s appointment as Attorney-General by Najib in place of Gani are additional reasons why Apandi should have avoided any conflict of interest situation and withdrawn from any decision-making on MACC’s investigation papers relating to Najib in its investigations into the RM2.6 billion donation and SRC scandals.
Apandi’s announcement that there will no charges against Najib also runs contrary to what MACC officials had said on public record.
Yesterday, after MACC had resubmitted its investigation papers to the AG’s Chambers at the request of Apandi himself on Jan 22, the MACC special operations chief Bahri Mohd Zain said the MACC was confident that the AG’s Chambers was satisfied with its investigation into two cases linked to the Prime Minister as the AG’s Chambers had not called the MACC in on the matter – the RM2.6 billion found in Prime Minister Najib’s bank accounts and claims that RM42 million flowed from state-owned SRC International into Najib’s accounts.
Bahri said that conventionally, the attorney-general will call in MACC top management or the investigation officer to discuss facts of the case and proposed charges in high-profile cases, before deciding on whether to prosecute the matter.
He said: “In the SRC International and RM2.6 billion cases, the MACC has not been called in for a discussion and I believe this is because the attorney-general is satisfied with the proposals made in the investigation papers.”
Bahri and the other MACC officials must be very surprised and disappointed that their expectations had been dashed to the ground and they must be as shocked as Malaysians that the Attorney-General had decided that no charges would be brought against Najib based on the MACC investigation papers.
I call on Apandi to make public the MACC’s proposals in its investigation papers on the RM2.6 billion “donation” and SRC scandals.
Although Article 145(3) of the Constitution vests absolute discretion on the Attorney-General “to institute, conduct or discontinue” any proceedings for an offence, which cannot be challenged in a court of law, the Attorney-General should realise that in high-profile cases affecting the Prime Minister as in the two cases involved, he owes a heavy responsibility to the Malaysian public to account for his extraordinary decision not to charge the Prime Minister at all
Apandi’s revelation that Najib had returned RM2.03 billion to the Saudi royal family, two months after the May general election, has raised even more questions – why did he accept the astronomical donations for the 13th General Election campaign in the first place and why did he return RM2.03 billion in August 2013; what happened to the balance of RM570 million from the original sum of RM2.6 billion?
Why didn’t Najib admit that he had returned the RM2.03 billion of the Saudi royal family, when he was prepared to let it be known that the donor for the RM2.6 billion had come from a Saudi royal family?
The question of who had benefitted from the astronomical donations still await answer.
Furthermore, what about the reports that more deposits were put into Najib’s personal bank accounts after the 13th General Election, to the extent that the total amounts deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts before and after the 13th General Election could have reached RM4 billion?
To remove all these questions and suspicions, a high-level three-man committee comprising two former judges and the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othmn should be formed to review Apandi’s decision to determine whether there had been a conflict of interest as well as whether the Attorney-General’s decision not to prosecute the Prime Minister was correct based on the MACC’s investigation papers.
(Speech at the DAP Batu Pahat “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” kopitiam ceramah in Tongkang Pecah on Tuesday, 26th January 2016 at 12 noon)