Hornbill Unleashed

June 18, 2017

Lawyer: M’sia should take action if DOJ’s allegations are false

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Those who believe that the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) latest civil action involving the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB funds was wrongfully filed should take appropriate steps to remedy the situation, says lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla.

Haniff, who has appeared for former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad in several civil cases against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, proposed that Najib and the Malaysian government should take three steps: contact the US ambassador, send a legal team to challenge the action, and file a defamation suit.

“This is the right thing for Malaysia to do if the allegations are incorrect,” Haniff said.

He advised the government to firstly call the US ambassador to register Malaysia’s protest against the DOJ filing. The DOJ should then be given a time frame to apologise and retract any inaccurate allegations made in the filing, failing which Malaysia must declare the US ambassador as persona non grata.

In diplomatic relations, the term persona non grata essentially enables a state to expel foreign persons by declaring them unacceptable and unwelcome in the country.

“Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali should also immediately send his legal team to the American courts to challenge the DOJ action, which was filed in the US.

Apandi cannot remain silent and talk garbage in Malaysia. He must walk the talk,” Haniff added.

He also urged Najib’s affiliates and Umno associates to persuade him to file a defamation suit immediately against all the parties insinuating him of complicity in the 1MDB fiasco.

US investigators first went public on the 1MDB scandal on July 21 last year and declared that Malaysians had been defrauded on an enormous scale.

At that time, US investigators said more than US$3 billion had allegedly been misappropriated from 1MDB and sought to seize around US$1 billion in ill-gotten assets.

In their third and latest filing on Thursday, the DOJ revised the allegedly misappropriated figure to US$4.5 billion and is seeking to seize US$1.7 billion in assets purportedly acquired using funds stolen from 1MDB.

Apandi, along with the prime minister’s aide Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, and Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak have claimed that the assertions made by the DOJ are false and wrongly insinuate Najib.

In response to the filing, Apandi strongly condemned the insinuations made against the PM of criminal wrongdoing.

“At no point in the civil claims is the prime minister named as a defendant or alleged to have committed any criminal wrongdoing,” said Apandi.

Tengku Sariffuddin also issued a statement yesterday saying that the action may amount to “domestic political manipulation and interference” and suggests a “motivation that goes beyond the objective of seizing assets”.

Salleh, meanwhile, accused the opposition of “treason” for misleading Malaysians on the DOJ action, and accused them of “trying to get the US involved in Malaysia’s internal politics”.

‘Courageous’ action needed

Haniff also questioned Apandi about the police investigation into 1MDB, which Apandi had said yesterday was “still ongoing”, despite the fact that inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar had stated on April 12 that the investigation papers had already been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Given that Muslims were entering the last ten days of Ramadan, Haniff urged Apandi to “seek God’s guidance to put things right and take the correct and courageous action to bring the culprits, including Malaysian Official 1, to book”.

“That is the least Apandi should do for the rightful sake of Malaysia. Don’t blame other countries for taking the necessary actions in their country on the 1MDB fiasco, which he (Apandi) has miserably failed to do over here,” Haniff added.

Besides Haniff, former Malaysian Bar president and former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan had challenged Apandi to take action on the 1MDB scandal, saying that there were sufficient grounds for Apandi to initiate proceedings.

Source : Malaysiakini by Hafiz Yatim


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