No commission will have power to prosecute, says Nazri
KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — The federal government will not give any statutory commission powers to prosecute or punish despite increasing scrutiny over the objectivity of Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail in politically sensitive cases.
De facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said in reply to a parliamentary question by Gombak MP Azmin Ali that the power to prosecute and to judge and sentence belonged to the Attorney-General and judiciary respectively.
“Any commission can be given the confidence to investigate. If there are offences, then it has to be brought to court. But giving powers to a commission to prosecute or punish cannot be done as these powers have already been given to the AGC and judiciary,” he said.
The constitution gives prosecution powers solely to the A-G and deputy public prosecutors appointed by him and any amendment would require a two-thirds majority which was ceded by Barisan Nasional (BN) after Election 2008.
Azmin had asked whether the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (SIAP), which was formed on April 1 three years after Parliament approved its establishment under Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration, would be allowed to prosecute errant enforcement officers.
“If the government is committed to amend the constitution, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is ready to support and give SIAP the power to prosecute,” the PKR deputy president said.
But Nazri (picture) replied saying “no system in the world will give the power to prosecute, judge and punish to a commission.”
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department added that out of 120 complaints already made with SIAP, nine has been referred to the MACC and 15 others to the police’s disciplinary board.
Nazri insisted earlier this week the Abdul Gani was not immune from criminal charges as any deputy public prosecutor could prosecute cases involving the A-G, who has been repeatedly accused of abuse of power by two former senior policemen.
Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim had claimed last September that any DPP with the “courage and will” could charge the A-G with 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.
The Padang Rengas MP had said this was because Mat Zain had never been the subject of the panel’s probe and had merely been called as a witness to testify.
He 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.