Lawyers to former ‘spy agency’ chief claim denied access, slam trial-by-media

Zurairi Ar
Shaharudin also pointed out that Hasanah and her seven officers have yet to be charged with any offence in court. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Lawyers for Datuk Hasanah A. Hamid claimed today that she was denied access to her legal team during the remand period, after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) served a notice under the Criminal Procedure Code.

They will now file a suit in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to declare the provisions denying her access to lawyers as ultra vires, and therefore, the graft busters’ interrogations, which they said was in violation of the law, as worthless and void.

“While SPRM is free to spray around damaging statements about Hasanah, we were not allowed to assist her or even to obtain her instructions and respond accordingly,” lead counsel Datuk Shaharudin Ali said in a statement, using the Malay initials of MACC.

“So much of the rule of law [sic],” he added, in the statement delivered in English.

Shaharudin said MACC’s notice was under Sections 28A(8) and (9) of the Code, that denies legal representation when it is believed that an accomplice of the person arrested may take steps to avoid apprehension; or conceal, fabricate, or destruct evidence or intimidate a witness.

“Effectively, this means that for five days that she would be under interrogation, her lawyers would not be around to advice [sic] and to consult her,” he said.

In a separate but accompanying statement in Malay, Shaharudin decried MACC’s attempt at a trial-by-media that he said may be prejudicial to his client’s defence.

He pointed to a report quoting an anonymous source in MACC as alleging that former officers of the Malaysian Internal External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) — of which Hasanah was the director-general — had received millions of dollars from a “Middle Eastern source”.

“Is it a trend for an investigating agency now to reveal everything in the media to be debated by ‘citizens are the country’s judges’, who do not know the details of the case?” he asked.

The lawyer also pointed out that Hasanah and her seven officers have yet to be charged with any offence in court.

Earlier today, MACC said it seized a total of US$6.3 million (RM25.95 million) in US currency from various locations nationwide, while investigating the MEIO for allegedly siphoning funds meant for the polls.

MACC Chief Commissioner of Operations Datuk Seri Azam Baki also revealed today that the latest US cash seizure was US$4.07 million when his men arrested a businessman in Kelantan last night.

He did not rule out the possibility investigations could involve 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying it was among the angles being covered by investigators.

The arrest of the 47-year-old businessman brings the total number of suspects in custody to nine people, including a former MEIO director-general and seven officers from the “spy” agency parked under the Prime Minister’s Department.

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