Appeals to challenge AG's decision absolving PM over 1MDB dismissed

KHAIRAH N. KARIM


PUTRAJAYA: Three appeals for leave to challenge Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali's decision to absolve the Prime Minister of wrongdoing in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue were dismissed by the Court of Appeal today.

A three-man bench led by Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid made the unanimous decision after affirming the High Court's ruling, making no order as to cost.

"This is a unanimous decision. We dismiss all three appeals for leave for judicial review. We affirm the decision of the High Court judge," Umi Kalthum said.

The three appellants – former Batu Kawan Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, the Malaysian Bar, and former cabinet minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, had on Nov 11, last year, lost their bid for leave to initiate a judicial review against Apandi's decision before High Court judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah.

The three were seeking leave to challenge the AG's decision on Jan 26, last year, not to prosecute Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the issue of a RM2.6 billion donation into his (Najib’s) personal account, among others.

Also presiding were Court of Appeal judges Tan Sri Idrus Bin Harun and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli.

Earlier, senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh, who represented Apandi, contended that the discretionary prosecutorial powers conferred on the AG under Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution to initiate or discontinue criminal proceedings could not be challenged.

He also argued that the purported draft of a charge sheet of corruption and criminal breach of trust charges against the Prime Minister was hearsay.

Meanwhile, lawyer Tommy Thomas, who represented the Malaysian Bar, contended that the AG could not decide on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)’s investigation against Najib over the 1MDB issue, as there is a conflict of interest due to the AG being appointed to his position by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong upon the advice of the Prime Minister.

Lawyer S. Ambiga also acted for the Malaysian Bar, while retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram acted as Zaid's counsel, and lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla represented Khairuddin.

On 26 Jan, 2016, Apandi decided that no criminal offence was committed by the Prime Minister in respect of three investigation papers submitted by the MACC.

On July 31, 2015, the AG said a purported draft of a charge sheet against Najib, which was published on the Sarawak Report website, was fake and that it had never reached the AG's Chambers (AGC).