PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has questioned the government’s deal to grant a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz on money laundering charges related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
He said such a plea deal would send a wrong message when it comes to other corruption cases.
“We want to question whether it is logical for us to settle this case with negotiations, and just pay back a little.
“Let’s say if RM1bil was taken, return RM100mil and it’s settled.
“Tomorrow he steals 10 chickens, just return one chicken, and it’s settled, ” he said in a Facebook Live session on Wednesday (May 20).
Anwar said the law must be enforced equally on everyone, irrespective of their political standing.
“We should not be angry just because there is corruption in Umno and keep quiet if there is the same in PKR. That is a very wrong approach, ” he said.
The decision to grant a discharge not amounting to acquittal to Riza Aziz came about after the government struck a deal in return for recovering foreign assets linked to 1MDB, estimated to be at RM465.3mil.
Riza was charged with five counts of receiving proceeds of unlawful activity amounting to RM1.08bil linked to 1MDB between April 2011 and November 2012.
Former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas hit back at his successor Tan Sri Idrus Harun, who said that Malaysia was expected to recover approximately US$108mil (RM470mil).
The purpose of prosecuting Riza, Thomas had said, was not to strengthen Malaysia’s chances of securing monies from the US Justice Department as the department would have returned these stolen monies in any event because it belongs to Malaysia.
“Riza is unnecessarily getting credit for returning monies that are not his. Hence, it is a sweetheart deal for Riza but terrible for Malaysia, ” Thomas said in a statement on Monday (May 18).
Also on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was not involved in the decision to grant a discharge not amounting to acquittal to Riza Aziz.
The PMO said the decision was reached between the prosecution and the accused through a representation brought before the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).