Rafizi’s OSA conviction, a ‘step backward’ says C4

Source FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) today criticised the High Court’s decision to dismiss Rafizi Ramli’s appeal against his conviction under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel said the decision was a “step backward” which seriously undermined the importance of safeguarding the right to freedom of information.

In a statement, she added that the OSA had been “arbitrarily” used to mask corrupt practices and obstruct the public from accessing information related to matters of public interest.

“C4 emphasises that using the OSA to criminalise whistleblowers who expose corruption and mismanagement to the public promotes an environment that breeds corruption primarily because secrecy allows for cases to be squashed without an explanation.

“Over the 45 years the OSA has been in force, we have witnessed how the law has been used as an effective means of ensuring that information on government is kept secret,” she said.

Last November, Rafizi was sentenced to a total of 36 months in jail over two charges of possessing page 98 of the 1MDB audit report and for revealing the contents of the report at the press conference. Read more

Rafizi fails to set aside OSA conviction over 1MDB audit expose

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli’s appeal to set aside his conviction under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Justice Azman Abdullah, in a brief oral judgment, ruled in favour of the conviction by the Sessions Court last November, for leaking the 1MDB report at a press conference at the Parliament building in March last year.

However, Justice Azman allowed Rafizi’s appeal against his conviction on the charge of possessing page 98 of the audit report, which had been classified under the OSA by the government.

He also granted the Pandan MP’s application for a stay of execution on the 18-month jail sentence, pending his final appeal.

On Nov 14, the Sessions Court sentenced Rafizi Ramli to a total 36 months in jail over the two charges of possessing page 98 of the 1MDB audit report and for revealing the contents of the report at the press conference.

The court ordered him to serve the two 18-month sentences concurrently. Read more

Judicial review application hearing to challenge A-G’s 1MDB report official secret classification

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 ― The High Court here today set Aug 1 to hear the application for a judicial review filed by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Muhammad Zahid Md Arip to challenge the decision to classify the Auditor-General’s report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as official secret.

Judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said set the date in chambers in the presence of lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla representing Muhammad Zahid and lawyer N. Ganeson representing Mohamed Azmin.

Also present were senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing the respondents, namely Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the Malaysian Government.

Mohamed Azmin and Muhammad Zahid filed the application separately on Aug 15 and 5 last year.

In his application, Mohamed Azmin is seeking for a declaration that Najib had acted in conflict of interest, in issuing a certificate under Section 2B of the Official Secrets Act 1972, to Ambrin, directing him to classify his report on 1MDB as an “official secret”.

Azmin is also seeking for another declaration that the classification by Ambrin on the 1MDB report as “official secret” under the OSA was unlawful and “ultra vires” (beyond the power) of the Federal Constitution, the OSA and the Audit Act 1957.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Zahid, who is former spiritual leader of Pertubuhan Tolak Individu Bernama Anwar Ibrahim (TIBAI) filed the legal bid against the same respondents, seeking an order to make the 1MDB final report publicly accessible.

On Jan 11, the High Court granted both of them leave to proceed with their judicial review seeking to declassify the audit report on 1MDB. ― Bernama

Court to hear Selangor MB’s bid to declassify A-G’s 1MDB report on Aug 1

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 ― The High Court here today set Aug 1 to hear the application for a judicial review filed by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Muhammad Zahid Md Arip to challenge the decision to classify the Auditor-General’s report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as official secret.

Judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said set the date in chambers in the presence of lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla representing Muhammad Zahid and lawyer N. Ganeson representing Mohamed Azmin.

Also present were senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing the respondents, namely Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the Malaysian Government.

Mohamed Azmin and Muhammad Zahid filed the application separately on Aug 15 and 5 last year. Read more

Azmin, one other granted leave in bid to declassify audit report

Source: The Star Online

Pic from the Star Online.

Pic from the Star Online.

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (pic) and a businessman have obtained leave to initiate judicial review proceedings in order to declassify the audit report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Hanipah Farikullah decided on the application for leave after hearing submissions by the parties in chambers on Wednesday.

In the first application for leave filed on Aug 5, last year, businessman Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, 50, sought to declassify the document, which is under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

In the second application, Selangor Mentri Besar and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali became the first MP seeking the same.

Hearing for Azmin’s bid to declassify 1MDB audit report

Source: NST Online

File photo shows a man walking past a 1MDB billboard in Kuala Lumpur. The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits on Wednesday seeking to seize dozens of properties tied to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying that over $3.5 billion was misappropriated from the institution. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

File photo shows a man walking past a 1MDB billboard in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today set Oct 26 to hear Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Azmin Ali’s leave application to proceed with his legal bid to declassify the Auditor General’s (AG) final report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), currently placed under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA).

Counsel Michelle Kummar confirmed that deputy registrar Norazlin Othman decided on the hearing date during case management in her chambers this morning.

“The leave application will be heard before judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah,” said Michelle.

She said copies of the legal action would later be served on the three respondents, namely; Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the Malaysian government.

Through the judicial review application filed on Aug 15, Azmin had sought a court declaration that there was a conflict of interest on Najib’s part, due to the PM’s role as 1MDB adviser, when he directed Ambrin to classify the report under the OSA.

Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president and Gombak MP, claimed the matter arose because Najib was purportedly linked to the 1MDB issue and it became his (Azmin’s) responsibility as a member of parliament to “protect the taxpayers and the citizens of Malaysia”.

He is seeking a court declaration that the OSA classification on the report was unlawful and violated the Federal Constitution, and an order to compel the three respondents to declassify the 1MDB final report and release it to the public.

On Nov 18, Hanipah is also set to hear a similar leave application by former ‘Tolak Individu Bernama Anwar Ibrahim’ (a former non-governmental organisation) spiritual leader Muhammad Zahid Md Arip to mount a legal bid to make the 1MDB final report publicly accessible.

Oct 26 court date to hear Azmin’s bid to declassify 1MDB audit report

Source: NST Online

File photo shows a man walking past a 1MDB billboard in Kuala Lumpur. The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits on Wednesday seeking to seize dozens of properties tied to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), saying that over $3.5 billion was misappropriated from the institution. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

File photo shows a man walking past a 1MDB billboard in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today set Oct 26 to hear Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Azmin Ali’s leave application to proceed with his legal bid to declassify the Auditor General’s (AG) final report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), currently placed under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA).

Counsel Michelle Kummar confirmed that deputy registrar Norazlin Othman decided on the hearing date during case management in her chambers this morning.

“The leave application will be heard before judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah,” said Michelle.

She said copies of the legal action would later be served on the three respondents, namely; Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the Malaysian government.

Through the judicial review application filed on Aug 15, Azmin had sought a court declaration that there was a conflict of interest on Najib’s part, due to the PM’s role as 1MDB adviser, when he directed Ambrin to classify the report under the OSA. Read more

Deloitte quits as 1MDB’s auditor

Source: The Edge Market

KUALA LUMPUR: Deloitte Malaysia has notified 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) of its intention to resign as the embattled state fund’s auditor, and the 1MDB board is now looking for a new auditor.

“Until a new auditor is appointed, Deloitte will remain as auditor on record,” said 1MDB in a statement yesterday.

“The board appreciates the professionalism displayed by Deloitte to date and highlights that Deloitte will continue to audit key subsidiaries of 1MDB, including but not limited to TRX City Sdn Bhd (formerly known as 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd), Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Edra Bhd,” it added.

1MDB disclosed that Deloitte had notified it of its intention to resign on Feb 26, but the fund did not say why it making the announcement only now.

However, Deloitte  in a separate statement referred to the civil forfeiture complaint filed by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) on July 20.

It said the complaint contains information, which, if known at the time of the 2013 and 2014 audits of 1MDB, would have impacted the financial statements and affected the audit reports.

Accordingly, it said, the audit reports issued by Deloitte in connection with the 2013 and 2014 financial statements of 1MDB should no longer be relied upon. Read more

Hakam: 1MDB audit report already public, just declassify it

Source: Malaysiakini

There is no more reason for the government to keep the 1MDB audit report secret as it has already been leaked and made public by the Sarawak Report, said human rights group Hakam.

The group, headed by former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan, said if the report was erroneous, then auditor-general Ambrin Buang would have said so.

“Once a purported ‘official secret’ is in the public domain, it is no longer a secret and ought to be declassified,” it said in a statement today,

It cited arguments by British appellate court judges in the 1980s, including a judgement by Lord Bridge of Harwich, who said “once information is freely available to the general public, it is nonsensical to talk about preventing its ‘disclosure’.”

The 1MDB audit report is currently classified under the Official Secrets Act. Read more

STATEMENT: Declassify The Auditor General’s Report on 1MDB

pdfSTATEMENT DATED 19 JULY 2016

DECLASSIFY THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT ON 1MDB

File photo shows a man walking past a 1MDB billboard in Kuala Lumpur. The tabling of the final 1MDB audit report before the PAC has already been delayed twice and has now been classified under the OSA. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

File photo shows a man walking past a 1MDB billboard in Kuala Lumpur. The tabling of the final 1MDB audit report before the PAC had been delayed twice and has now been classified under the OSA. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Details of the 1MDB Auditor General’s report disclosed by Sarawak Report has been met by a wall of silence by the Government save for the usual vitriol hurled at the portal for its disclosure of a classified document.

The directive to the Auditor General to investigate 1MDB came from the Cabinet in March 2015. The report was completed and handed to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 4 March 2016 at which point it was classified as an official secret. It is unclear exactly who classified it although the Act requires that if it does not fall within the schedule that refers generally to government decisions and issues relating to national security, then it must be so classified by a Minister, the Mentri Besar or Chief Minister or other authorised public officer.  Who therefore classified the report as an official secret?  It must be ensured that no conflict of interest arose in the classification.

The issue now is whether the Auditor General’s report should be declassified under Section 2C of the Official Secrets Act.  There are compelling reasons why it must.

First, this is an audit sought by the Cabinet who was perfectly justified in doing so in view of the fact that public funds were involved.  The Cabinet was therefore acting in the public interest.  However, Cabinet’s task is incomplete if they do not consider the report in full and if they do not publicly disclose its contents.  One does not ask for such an important report to be done by the Auditor General, only to make his findings secret.  In other words, the Auditor General is brought into the picture to examine if there are improprieties relating to public funds.  It is therefore incumbent on the Cabinet to direct the declassification of the Auditor General’s report. Read more