Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Corruption allegations - AG more like Defence Attorney?

Yesterday, we followed a malaysiakini news report that the Attorney General Gani Patail not only cleared both IGP and the former ACA boss of corruption allegations – yes, a la the Shakespearean ‘in one fell swoop’ or 'in one fierce, sudden onslaught' ;-) - but also ordered the ACA to close the probe into allegations that IGP Musa Hassan took RM2 million in bribe to release three criminal suspects held under the Emergency Ordinance.

I then posted
We're a 'clean' nation where I asked how Gani, who's only the AG, has the authority, and indeed the audacity, to publicly order the ACA to close the probe into the
allegations surrounding the IGP Musa Hassan.

I asked because I thought the ACA reports only to the PM!

The problem with Bolehland is that ever since Dr Mahathir left, one at times isn't quite sure who's in charge. Recently we had the DPM saying the government wasn't clamping down on bloggers while the ruling party's chief head kicker said it was, and with all the force of the power it has.

And during the Squatgate scandal we have the then Deputy IGP (now IGP) contradicting the DPM. As for the establishment of IPCMC, the former IGP had the temerity to undermine the PM's promise and authority by going directly to the UMNO MPs to warn that the Police couldn't promise the 'usual' support for them if they didn't reject the IPCMC.

For more on how the former Deputy IGP, now IGP, had ignored his policy masters, read my letter to malaysiakini titled Police moving to prevent more exposés, and my previous posting How Powerful is the Deputy IGP?

Anyway, I also asked, would stopping an investigation imply that there was in fact an ongoing investigation at the time Gani gave the 'cease and desist' order? If so, my question is, why stop it? Why not let it run its course. Gani's job as the AG is to assess whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to court - but most certainly not to stop the ACA's investigation.

Last evening
malaysiakini reported that Mohamad Ramli Abdul Manan, a former Sabah ACA chief who whistle-blew on the alleged corruption and alleged sexual abuse committed by the former ACA boss, stated the AG failed to investigate the claims thoroughly.

In fact Mohd Ramli went as far as to say
“Gani and Zulkipli are buddies. Gani should not make the decision.”

He had already
pointed out in March that Abdul Gani should not be investigating Zulkipli’s case as they had been close friends while serving in Sabah.

If Ramli's assertion is true, then there has been a 'conflict of interest' in Gani's assessment of the corruption allegations against Zulkipli. This is not to say that Gani was incorrect, but in a fully transparent and accountable democracy, a situation of perceived (only perceived and not necessarily real) 'conflict of interest' would automatically taint the assessment or evaluation.

Surely the AG as the nation’s No 1 law officer would and should be aware of such an procedural pitfall, but alas, apparently NOT!

Then Mohd Ramli said what I have been waiting to be clarified, that the AG has no power in law to direct an investigation agency to close a particular investigation.

As a sweet lady would say:
As Humpty Dumpty would say: “Ayoyo!”
As Penangites would say
“K--- neen nair!”
As bloggers would say
As the PM would say

Ramli said:
“You must ask the question, where is the law which says that Gani as AG and public prosecutor can direct an investigation agency to close a particular investigation?”

Precisely ... which has been my query all along – mind you, only as a confused ignorant goblok-ish citizen

Ramli added:
“Under Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the AG - the public prosecutor - has control and direction only of all criminal prosecutions and proceedings in court. He decides whether to prosecute or not to prosecute an offender.”

... and most certainly he would not have any say in what the ACA does, especially with an ongoing investigation. And Good Lord, he IS the nation’s No 1 law officer - well, isn’t he?

Finally, Ramli put another twist to the screwdriver he has shafted into Gani Patail. He also claimed that AG had acted more like (former ACA boss) Zulkipli’s defense counsel than a public prosecutor, when the AG
revealed the outcome of the investigations last Saturday.

Ramli sneered:
“Gani was talking more like a defence attorney for Zul in saying that he had managed to explain how he had acquired all these properties. He was not talking like a public prosecutor.”

Good lord (again), no, it can’t be – not after the accusation of ‘conflict of interest’. Besides, aren't we living in a 'clean' nation?

Well, are we?

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