PETALING JAYA: Solicitor General III Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria has questioned how an email circular instructing the Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPP) to object to the postponement of several high profile corruption cases was leaked.
The directive, he said, was an internal matter within the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).
“I am surprised that it found its way out,” he said, adding that the circular was only addressed to the DPPs who were handling the trial of SRC, 1MDB and other cases involving a “kleptocracy government”.
The circular, which has gone viral, is igniting questions about the independence of the AGC.
Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, in a statement yesterday, said: “I wish to explain here that the AGC is part of the machinery of the Federal Government and being part of it, we receive direction and instruction from the Government.”
He said the AGC always adheres to the Government’s directives so long as they were lawful and not against the Federal Constitution.
“Therefore, it is my duty, in my capacity as the Solicitor General III in charge of prosecution, to inform the DPPs concerned of the directive by the Government for the trial in respect of the abovementioned cases to expedite in accordance to the scheduled dates,” he said.
Mohamad Hanafiah said this was consistent with sub-section 172B(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code which states any trial shall commence not later than 90 days from the date the accused is charged.
He said Attorney General Tommy Thomas was also of the view that the cases must be settled “expediously” as the public awaits for the trials of the respective cases to start.
“My email is a reminder to the DPPs concerned that the cases must proceed as scheduled and that there shall be no delay in conducting the cases,” he said.
“I wish to state that the email is also a directive to the DPPs concerned that any application for postponement will be strictly opposed and that we will not agree to any request for postponement.”
“However, we do take note that ultimately, it is for the trial judge to decide whether an adjournment is to be granted or not,” he said.