Tuesday, May 17, 2022

June 23 hearing for bid to refer questions of law on MACC probe of judge

The three plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the investigation conducted by MACC against Mohd Nazlan Ghazali is unconstitutional.

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court has set June 23 to hear an application by two lawyers and an activist to refer to the Federal Court two questions of law regarding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation against Court of Appeal judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali.

Judge Noorin Badaruddin set the date during case management attended by counsels A Surendra Ananth and Wong Ming Yen, representing the three individuals, and senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob, representing the defendants – MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki, MACC and the government.

This was in reference to the originating summons filed by two lawyers, Nur Ain Mustapa and Sreekant Pillai, and activist Haris Fathillah Mohamed Ibrahim, seeking a declaration that the investigation conducted by MACC against Nazlan is unconstitutional.

The two questions are whether criminal investigation bodies including MACC are only legally permitted to investigate High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court judges who have been suspended under Article 125 (5) of the Federal Constitution, and whether the public prosecutor is empowered to institute or conduct proceedings for an offence against serving judges pursuant to Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution.

Mazlifah, when met by reporters, said the defendants had been given until June 2 to file their affidavits in response to the suit.

Surendra said the court had ordered both parties to file their written submissions on or before June 22.

In the suit filed on May 6, the three plaintiffs sought a declaration that MACC is not entitled to investigate serving judges unless they have been suspended or removed.

They also sought a declaration that a public prosecutor is not empowered to institute or conduct any proceedings for an offence against serving judges of a court, and that the investigations against judge Nazlan are unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the three plaintiffs through a supporting affidavit filed with the originating summons, said the media had reported that the commission had commenced a probe against Nazlan over allegations of unexplained money in his account following official reports lodged with it regarding the matter.

They claimed that the purported investigation was a violation by the executive branch of the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers.

Nazlan, who convicted former prime minister Najib Razak of charges of misappropriating SRC International funds, had lodged a police report over news articles alleging that he was being investigated for unexplained money in his bank account.

A statement released by the Federal Court chief registrar’s office on April 21 said Nazlan denied the false, baseless and malicious allegations aimed at undermining his credibility as a judge and disrupting the administration of criminal justice and the judiciary.

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