Ex-law minister seeks court review of AG’s decision to clear Najib

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) has filed for a court review of the AG’s decision not to press charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak. ― File pic

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) has filed for a court review of the AG’s decision not to press charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 ― Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today filed a court application for a review of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decision not to press charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak as well as the latter’s order on Malaysia’s graftbusters to close two cases against the prime minister.

In a press statement, the former de facto law minister said he applied for leave for judicial review from the court on grounds that the AG’s decisions in the RM2.6 billion and SRC International cases were unreasonable and constituted “improper exercise of discretion”.

Zaid claimed the AG does not enjoy “absolute discretion” as the discretion afforded him in Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution indicates his duties must be exercised with due consideration of public interest as well as with a sense of justice.

“As far as I have been advised, there is nothing known in law as the concept of ‘absolute discretion’.

“The notion of such unfettered discretion is in fact contrary to the rule of law, and it is for this reason I am compelled to act,” the former Umno man said in the statement posted on his blog.

Zaid said he is seeking a judicial review of two matters ― Apandi’s decision to clear Najib of all wrongdoing in the RM2.6 billion donation and SRC International cases; and his order telling the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to close the two cases.

The ex-minister said reports and statements from the MACC and other investigative agencies have indicated that there is “strong evidence” to suggest wrongdoing in the cases, some of which could involve laws like the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, the Financial Services Act 2013, as well as possible criminal breach of trust and other offences under the Penal Code.

Under these circumstances, Zaid said he is seeking leave from the court to hear his bid for review, as well as three other reliefs ― a certiorari order setting aside the AG’s decisions; a mandamus order compelling the AG to utilise his discretionary powers to consider pressing charges against Najib; and a declaration from the court that the AG’s decision compelling the MACC to close the two cases is unconstitutional.

“I have been forced to initiate these proceedings as I am rightfully concerned about the dire consequences to the rule of law in this country if the decision of one man cannot be questioned regardless of the facts and the circumstances of the case,” Zaid said.

Last Tuesday, Apandi announced that he has found no evidence of wrongdoing in the corruption probes on SRC International, a unit formerly owned by 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and the transfer of a RM2.6 billion donation into Najib’s private accounts.

He added the he will return the investigation papers to the MACC and instruct them to close the cases. In response to criticism of his decision, Apandi reportedly said that questioning the decision of the Attorney-General goes against the Federal Constitution.

He said Article 145(3) of the country’s supreme law empowers him to carry out or halt any proceedings for a charge/offence, with the exceptions of proceedings involving the Shariah and Military Courts.

“This is my stand. Anyone who does not agree, they are free to obtain the explanation of my decision at the federal court,”Apandi was quoted as saying in Berita Harian last Thursday. – Malay Mail Online

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