The Malaysian Bar will initiate legal action against public officers who may have obstructed the course of justice in investigations into the transfer of RM2.6 billion into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts.
President of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru said those named in the suit could include the prime minister, as well as other public officers who were seen to have interfered with investigations into the RM2.6 billion deposits and allegations of financial impropriety involving 1MDB and its related companies.
“This is not about who is innocent or guilty, but to uphold the rule of law in respect to the investigations which were derailed.
“There are some people who are guilty of interfering with the investigations and that is what we are not happy with,” Thiru said at a press conference after the Bar’s extraordinary general meeting which was attended by 1,040 members.
The Bar also called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion donation.
These were among five resolutions passed at the Bar’s EGM today.
Thiru stressed that the ultimate resolution passed today was the possibility of legal action targeted at public officers, stressing that the Bar only wanted to uphold and restore the rule of law, as far as the investigations was concerned.
“At the moment, we have not confined ourselves to anyone, we will be working with our solicitors and looking at who are the possible defendants because they had either interfered, obstructed or subverted the administration of justice,” he said.
He explained that the administration of justice he was referring to was the ongoing investigations that were afoot when the special task force announced in July that they were looking at the transfer of the RM2.6 billion.
“The prime minister is definitely a possible defendant, the way things have gone in the past two months,” he said when asked if Najib could be named as a defendant in the suit.
He said that the possible cause of action was tort of misfeasance in public office, where a person in authority uses his or her power for an ulterior purpose or a collateral purpose.
He listed a number of events including the crippling of the Public Accounts Committee, the removal of the former AG, the removal of the director of special branch and the recent transfer of the deputy director of special branch as well as actions of the police against MACC and Bank Negara as reasons for considering legal action on the obstruction of justice.
“If you look at the reports, these have been widely perceived to be attributable to the prime minister and other persons reporting to him.
“So they are all possible defendants for this action,” he said.
He also said that the Bar was mandated under the Legal Profession Act to take action in the administration of justice without fear or favour.
“If we see the administration of justice is in some way being perverted, in some way being subverted, then it is the duty of the Malaysian Bar to take action.
“But those actions are not because we have come to any conclusion on guilt or innocence, all we are saying is public officers should not interfere with investigations that concern them.
“They should allow the investigations to carry on, if it is exoneration, it’s exoneration, if it is culpability it’s culpability, you deal with it then, but you cannot interfere with investigations, that is our concern,” Thiru said.
As such, he said the Bar proposed that a RCI take over the probe into 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion channelled into Najib’s accounts.
He added that it was in the prime minister’s best interest to support the formation of an RCI because an unhindered, objective investigation that led to a result Najib may find acceptable was better than an investigation done which is questioned and not accepted by the public.
“If he takes the position he is innocent and the RCI does come up with findings that exonerates him, all the better for him, it’s a win-win for him,” he said.
The other resolutions passed were to condemn the removal of Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, the crippling of the PAC, and the intimidation of investigating officers and personnel in the Attorney General’s Chambers, MACC, Bank Negara and the police special branch. – September 12, 2015.
- Lawyers call for RCI on 1MDB and RM2.6b donation, allow Bar Council to sue if probe obstructed [12 Sep 2015]
- Bar Council mulls suing PM over alleged obstruction of 1MDB probe [12 Sep 2015]
- Bar Council calls upon Government to set up 1MDB RCI [12 Sep 2015]