Any DPP can charge A-G, says Nazri
KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — The federal government insisted today the Attorney-General is not immune from criminal charges, saying that any deputy public prosecutor can charge Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who has been repeatedly accused of abuse of power by two former senior policemen.
De facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (picture) told Parliament that even though all powers of prosecution were vested in Abdul Gani, any of his appointed subordinates could bring a charge against the country’s top lawyer.
“If something happens where the A-G is involved, other prosecutors, those in the A-G’s Chambers can charge,” the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said in reply to a question by the DAP’s Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo.
The Padang Rengas MP also added that as it “will be difficult for him to be prosecuted by those subordinate to him, the constitution allows for a fiat to be given to other practising lawyers to carry out the prosecution.”
Section 376(3) of the Criminal Procedure Codes states that “the Public Prosecutor may appoint fit and proper persons to be Deputy Public Prosecutors who shall be under the general control and direction of the Public Prosecutor and may exercise all or any of the rights or powers vested in or exercisable by the Public Prosecutor by or under this Code or any other written law except any rights or powers express to be exercisable by the Public Prosecutor personally and he may designate any of the Deputy Public Prosecutors as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutors.”
This confirms Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim’s claim last September that any DPP with the “courage and will” could charge the A-G for various allegations of abuse of power the former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief had levelled against Abdul Gani in the past two years.
Former Bukit Aman Commercial Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff had also early this year joined Mat Zain’s campaign against the A-G, igniting renewed pressure from the opposition to have the Abdul Gani charged.
Mat Zain has repeatedly accused Abdul Gani of abuses of power, beginning with the 1998 royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye.
He has also claimed that an independent three-man panel had investigated criminal allegations against the A-G and one of them concluded the A-G had tampered with three expert reports in the black eye RCI.
But Putrajaya has repeatedly refused to take action against Abdul Gani over the allegations of corruption and fabricating evidence.
The government had first brushed aside in December 2010 accusations made by investigating officer Mat Zain that Abdul Gani had falsified documents in Opposition Leader Anwar’s 1998 “black eye” case.
Instead, Nazri had told the House that there was no need for Mat Zain to complain that the independent panel formed to investigate the claimed evidence fabrication had failed to clear his name in the incident.
This, said Nazri, was because Mat Zain had never been the subject of the panel’s probe and had merely been called as a witness to testify.
Nazri also said that the panel had been constitutional, despite Mat Zain’s claim that the Solicitor-General had no right to appoint the members.
In his first open letter to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Mat Zain had claimed that the right to appoint a tribunal only lay with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, based on the prime minister’s advice.
Despite Nazri’s response, Mat Zain continued his relentless pursuit to convince the government to charge Abdul Gani in court and, over the past year, penned a series of open letters to the police chief.
Mat Zain also claimed that Najib was aware of Abdul Gani’s involvement as the prime minister had been briefed and was provided “complete evidence” in October 2008, when he was still the country’s deputy premier.
The former senior police officer said he had briefed Najib at the latter’s Finance Ministry office in Putrajaya, adding that he had “assumed” the leader would take appropriate action once he took up the prime minister’s post.