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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Zaid seeks court order to challenge A-G’s decision on Najib

Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has filed for leave at the High Court to challenge the decision of the attorney-general (A-G) not to prosecute Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over his RM2.6 billion donation and Finance Ministry-owned firm SRC International Sdn Bhd.
He is also seeking leave for a judicial review to challenge A-G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali's decision in ordering the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to close its investigations into both matters.

Zaid said he was arguing that the A-G's decision was unreasonable and constituted an improper exercise of discretion.

He also said Apandi had a constitutional duty to exercise the discretion conferred on him by the provisions of Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution with due consideration, reasonably in the public interest and with a sense of justice.

"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.

"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," Zaid said in a statement today that was posted on his blog.

The Malaysian Insider reported earlier today that a former Umno man would sue Apandi over his failure to prosecute Najib.

Zaid left Umno in 2008 and subsequently joined PKR but has since left the opposition party.

The former law minister said he was satisfied that there was strong evidence for Najib to be held liable for wrongdoing under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 and the Financial Services Act 2013, which might also extend to criminal breach of trust and other offences under the Penal Code.

If Zaid succeeds in getting leave at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, he will then ask the court for an order to set aside the A-G's decision to not prosecute Najib and his order for MACC to close the files on their investigations.

He will also be seeking a court order to compel the A-G to use his discretion under Article 145(3) to properly consider instituting criminal proceedings against the prime minister.

Zaid also wanted a court declaration that the A-G's decision asking MACC to close its investigations was ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the Constitution.

Last Tuesday, Apandi announced that MACC, after six months of investigations, did not have sufficient evidence for him to frame charges against the prime minister and ordered the investigation papers closed.

The three papers are one on the RM2.6 billion donation and two on SRC International, which had taken a RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).

Apandi has shrugged off the MACC move to refer its investigation papers to its oversight panel for a review of his decision.

The panel has told MACC to engage the A-G on his findings. Apandi said any challenge to his decision would go against his powers as A-G stipulated in the Federal Constitution. B

But others, including former A-G Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, had said that these powers do not include directing an investigating agency to stop its probes.

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