Breach of Federal Constitution if A-G has no knowledge of Lim's case dismissal

Veena Babulal

KUALA LUMPUR: If it is true that Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had nothing to do with the withdrawal of Lim Guan Eng’s graft case, then there has been a breach of the Federal Constitution.

Former law minister Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim tweeted that the revelation that the AG himself was not involved in the case dismissal by Attorney General Chamber’s Appellate and Trial Division head Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria points to a violation of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution.

“Only the Attorney-General has the power to withdraw a criminal case,” he posted on Twitter this morning.

Rais’ remarks came amid growing speculation on why and how the case was withdrawn against the Finance Minister.

Yesterday, the Penang High Court had cleared Lim of two charges following the AGC’s withdrawal.

The first charge is for using his former position as the Chief Minister of Penang to approve the conversion of land, and the second is for gaining gratification for himself by buying below the market price at RM2.8 million even though it was priced at RM6.5 million at the time.

Lim claimed trial for both charges which were first filed in court by the previous Barisan Nasional administration in 2016. Phang Li Koon from whom Lim had bought the bungalow in 2015 was also acquitted of the corruption charge against her.

The prosecution had initially asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal but the judge ordered a full acquittal instead.

This had ensued in mounting speculations on how and why the duo were acquitted with interest group, Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel questioning how High Court could easily acquit the duo from corruption charges, as former attorney-general Apandi Ali was confident in pressing charges.

Gabriel also said the ease of which Lim was acquitted, even when the prosecution asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, raises highly suspicious flags.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had earlier said that Lim also expressed shock at the court’s decision to clear the latter. He said that the decisions made by courts even if they were wrong had to be accepted.

On Tuesday, however, Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said its decision to withdraw corruption charges against Lim and Phang was not influenced by anyone and done without fear or favour.

Mohamad Hanafiah also clarified that Attorney General Tommy Thomas had no hand in the decision as he had already recused himself in all deliberations regarding the case from the onset.

However, Tommy was also reported to have been Lim’s counsel for the case prior to his appointment as the AG. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd