By Hafiz Yatim
EXCLUSIVE Did attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail have a role in leaking confidential documents on the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigations against former Malacca chief minister Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik and former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz over 15 years ago?
Very possible, considering that Anwar Ibrahim lodged four separate police reports when he was held at the Sungai Buloh prison between July and August 1999, said retired Kuala Lumpur CID chief Mat Zain Ibrahim in an interview with Malaysiakini.
It has been rumoured that Gani, then chief prosecutor in the AG’s Chambers, had given these documents classified as “rahsia” (top secret) to Anwar when he was deputy prime minister.
Mat Zain (left), who was then newly-minted as KL CID chief after being promoted from his post in Malacca, was the man in charge of the investigation into the police reports lodged by Anwar.
These reports, on abuse of power, were against former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the late attorney-general Mohtar Abdullah and Gani himself.
The reports were mainly on the Perwaja Steel scandal involving four people – former company chief Eric Chia, Rahim, Rafidah and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin – all of whom were close to Anwar’s nemesis, Mahathir.
Anwar had claimed in his reports that Mahathir, Mohtar and Gani did not take any action against the four for corruption involving hundreds of millions of ringgit.
Mat Zain said the ACA, following its investigations, recommended that four charges be preferred against Rahim and five against Rafidah. This was somewhat agreed to by the attorney-general. However, both Rahim and Rafidah were never charged.
In the case against Daim (right), as Anwar alleged in his police reports, top Malay corporate players including former Renong Bhd chairperson Abdul Halim Saad, Land and General Bhd founder Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah and former Malaysia Airlines chairperson Tajudin Ramli held sums in excess of RM370 million and of this, RM220 million in cash was held in trust for Daim.
There was also an “acknowledgement of trust” signed by Halim, Wan Azmi and Tajudin confirming that they were holding the money for, and on behalf, of Daim.
‘Unwritten understanding in police force’
Mat Zain said there was an unwritten understanding in the police force then that he would handle cases on the police reports made by Anwar, while former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan would deal with complaints filed against Anwar.
He personally supervised the initial inquiries into Anwar’s four police reports and submitted preliminary reports to Stanley Augustine, the Kuala Lumpur head of prosecution in the AG’s Chambers, for advice on the proper classifications for the offences.
And he was surprised by Augustine’s recommendations.
“On the Eric Chia case, (he said) there were already on-going investigations by the police Commercial Crime Investigations Division and I was asked to liaise with the CCID.
“On the Rahim (left) and Rafidah cases, I was advised to classify these under the Official Secrets Act and on Daim’s case, I was given a free hand to decide which laws to apply.
Not happy with the suggestions from the AG’s Chambers, Mat Zain wrote to the Bukit Aman CID director on Aug 25, 1999, and suggested all four cases be classified under Section 2(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance.
“In short, the investigations should be for abuse of power and these would centre on Mahathir, Mohtar and Gani as the police reports concerned them,” he said.
According to Mat Zain, he also proposed that statements from Anwar be separately recorded for each of the reports and he suggested that a notice under Section 51(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) be served on Anwar to compel him to produce the confidential documents in his possession.
At that time, Mat Zain had wondered how Anwar could have the classified documents in his hands when he was in jail.
“Three days after I sent in my proposal, I received a letter from the KL prosecution head Augustine, marked “sulit” (confidential) and ‘persendirian” (private), addressed to me personally, dated Aug 28, 1999.
“Augustine wrote that Gani (right) had also made a police report against Anwar for exposing confidential documents pertaining to the ACA investigations against Rahim and that Musa Hassan had been appointed as the investigation officer to look into the report made by Gani, and the directive to me was that I had to refer to Musa.
“I discovered that Musa received Gani’s report discreetly which I am not supposed to have sight of.
“I soon realised that my investigation had been hijacked (by Musa)… to prevent any investigation against Gani – who should be the one held responsible for the leaked confidential documents,” Mat Zain said.
Mat Zain argued that it was Gani who had access to the investigation papers on Rahim and Rafidah, and it was Gani who classified the documents as “rahsia” and inked his signature on every page of the documents.
“Anwar would not have obtained them had these not been given to him by then attorney-general Mohtar or by Gani himself, for Anwar was at that time the deputy prime minister,” Mat Zain said.
“I suppose the prosecutors could not charge Anwar under the Official Secrets Act then since it would backfire against Gani, who was supposed to safeguard the documents, not Anwar,” he said, adding that after this, he was never briefed on Musa’s investigations into the matter.
With Gani lodging the police report, he said, it indirectly confirmed that the documents were genuine and classified as confidential, and that he was the one to have leaked them. This was later made public through subsequent police reports by Anwar.
Mat Zain further revealed that in the case of former Parti Keadilan Nasional Youth chief Ezam Mohd Noor (now a BN senator), who had been charged and convicted under the Official Secrets Act, Gani himself had testified that the ACA investigation documents on Rafidah were genuine. – Mkini