Thursday, June 24, 2021

1MDB, SRC probe classified as NFA, never closed, ex-AG says in defamation suit against Kit Siang

He also says he never cleared Najib Razak of 1MDB and SRC International-related charges, only on the RM2.6 billion donation.

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Mohamed Apandi Ali told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today that the investigation into 1MDB and SRC International Sdn Bhd was classified as “No Further Action” and was never closed during his tenure as attorney-general (AG).

He said even when he left the post in 2018, the investigation remained ongoing.

“Any investigator could reopen the probe if new evidence surfaced.

“The investigation was never completed even until the day I left the AG’s Chambers,” he said when cross-examined by lawyer Ramkarpal Singh in the trial of his defamation suit against DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang before judge Azimah Omar.

Apandi also said he had not cleared the former prime minister of 1MDB and SRC International-related charges, only on the RM2.6 billion donation.

Ramkarpal: The press release (dated Jan 26, 2016) which you read at the press conference had cleared former prime minister Najib Razak of any wrongdoing in SRC International. Do you agree that it is because in your view the funds came from the donation instead of SRC International?

Apandi: I did not mention the source of the funds in the press release, I only mentioned that there was no evidence that Najib had abused his position as prime minister.

Ramkarpal: So you said there was no evidence that the money came from SRC International?

Apandi: At that material time.

Apandi also said that in his 47 years of experience in the legal arena he had never committed any wrongdoing or “assisted” anyone related to 1MDB or SRC International.

Ramkarpal then questioned Apandi about a news report claiming that the then-AG had refused to act on the recommendation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) review panel to press charges against Najib.

Ramkarpal: This report was quite damaging and one of the review panel members, Lim Chee Wee, alleged that you did not act upon the fact that RM42 million had entered the former prime minister’s bank account. You were given a chance to respond but you did not.

Apandi: I was of the opinion that it was not worth responding to.

On July 5, 2019, Apandi sued Lim, saying in his statement of claim that on May 6, 2019, Lim had written and caused to be published an article titled “Dangerous fallacy to think Malaysia’s on the road to integrity” in Malaysiakini.

He claimed that the allegedly libellous words in the article implied that he was involved in crime and had abetted in the 1MDB financial scandal, that he was a person with no morals and integrity, and that he was unethical and had abused his power when he was the AG.

Apandi who was AG from July 27, 2015 to June 4, 2018, contended that the words were untrue and written with the intention of tarnishing his image and credibility as a former Malaysian AG for cheap publicity.

He is seeking aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as RM10 million in general damages, an injunction to prevent Lim and/or his agents from publishing the alleged defamatory words again and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The hearing before judge Azimah continues tomorrow.

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