Hornbill Unleashed

March 8, 2014

Top lawyer under probe for statutory declaration on Altantuya’s murder

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Senior corporate lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham is being investigated by a three-man Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board (ASDB) committee for professional misconduct for allegedly preparing a statutory declaration (SD) for the late private investigator P. Balasubramaniam (pic), who was not his client.

The contentious SD was to counter Bala’s first sworn statement which had incriminated Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several other personalities in relation to the 2006 murder of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider the ASDB decided to hold the proceedings after finding there was a sufficient prima facie case against the lawyer for professional misconduct.

The committee, comprising two lawyers and a layman, is looking into alleged misconduct under Section 94 of the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976 for “conduct or omission to act by a lawyer in a professional capacity which amounts to grave impropriety”.

“This misconduct is in relation to Cecil, who is alleged to have drafted the SD for Balasubramaniam, when the late private investigator was not his client.

“At all material times, Americk Singh Sidhu was on record as the counsel for Balasubramaniam,” a source said.

The Bar Council lodged a complaint against Cecil to the ASDB last year and last week, council chairman Christopher Leong appeared before the committee to give evidence in a closed-door session.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Americk would be the next witness to appear before the committee while carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan is also slated to testify.

The ASDB, which is a body independent of the Bar Council, is statutorily tasked to investigate professional misconduct.

Deepak had earlier admitted that he helped to get Balasubramaniam repudiate his first SD by finding two lawyers to draft the new statement.

Americk had thrown light on the contentious SD when he read out a prepared statement at the Malaysian Bar’s 67th annual general meeting (AGM) last year where he had said: “Tan Sri Cecil Abraham admitted to me that he was the one who drafted the second statutory declaration”.

Americk later told reporters at the sidelines of the AGM that the directive to Cecil came from Najib, who was then the deputy prime minister.

“I’m not interested in lodging a complaint with the board. That is not my agenda. My agenda is just to find out who instructed him to do it,” Americk had said.

Leong, had also on the sidelines of the AGM, had suggested that the Attorney General’s Chambers could relook Altantuya’s case based on evidence from Americk’s revelation, as well as Deepak’s admittance of involvement in the case.

“Much has been said about the obvious lack of motive for the two police officers to commit the crime. That remains the unanswered question,” Leong had said.

Two former police commandos, Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, who were charged with Altantuya’s murder, were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court.

Their convictions, however, were overturned by the Court of Appeal last year.

Putrajaya is appealing the decision by the Court of Appeal. Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with abetting them, was also acquitted in 2008.

Balasubramaniam or “PI Bala” accused several top federal government personalities of being involved in Altantuya’s murder in his first SD in 2008, two years after the woman’s murder.

But he retracted the SD the following day and signed a new one, where the names of the personalities, including Najib, were omitted.

Bala died of a heart attack on March 15 last year, weeks after returning home from self-exile.

Lawyers familiar with disciplinary proceedings said the committee would make its findings and recommendation to the board, including the punishment to be meted out for misconduct.

“The board will deliberate on the committee’s report and can decided to accept or reject it,” law lecturer Surdev Singh said.

Under the LPA, a lawyer found guilty of misconduct could be reprimanded, fined, suspended from practice for up to five years, or struck off the roll.


1 Comment »

  1. It is really hard to understand the psychology of Indians in Malaysia. Diversification of ideas,disunity in thoughts, unreliability of among individual and groups and hosts of other negativities that only downtrodden their community are the normal orders of the days.

    Comment by loyarburok — March 8, 2014 @ 10:54 AM | Reply

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