MACC defends probe on judge, says it has authority to investigate

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has defended its decision to initiate a probe against a judge, saying that it has the authority to investigate allegations of corruption, including against “members of public bodies”.

The MACC said it was also responsible to confirm and investigate reports or official complaints lodged concerning issues under its purview.

ALSO READ: MACC: Nazlan under probe

It further explained that under Section 3 of the MACC Act, “officer of a public body” means any person who is a member, an officer, an employee or a servant of a public body, and includes a member of the administration, a member of Parliament, and a member of a State Legislative Assembly.

An officer of a public body under this section also includes a judge of the High Court, Court of Appeal or Federal Court, and any person receiving remuneration from public funds, and, where the public body is a corporate sole, includes the person who is incorporated as such, it said.

“In line with the principles of separation of powers, after the completion of an investigation process, the investigation papers will be submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) to decide whether to prosecute or otherwise,” said MACC in a statement on Thursday (April 28).

ALSO READ: Malaysian Bar wants ‘balanced treatment’ for SRC trial judge

The MACC pointed out it had carried out investigations against judges before and investigation papers were submitted to the AGC for evaluation.

With regards to investigation against the said judge, the MACC said it had received a complaint on March 17, followed by two more on April 23 and 27.

“Investigations are still in the early stages and involve public interest.

“It must be pointed out that when an investigation is carried out against any individual, it does not mean that the person concerned had committed an offence.

“The MACC calls on the public to allow the process of investigation to be carried out based on the laws that are in place,” it said.

Last week, the MACC confirmed that Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was being investigated over allegations of unexplained money in his account.

Its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki said an investigation paper had been opened after reports were lodged.

Mohd Nazlan was the judge who convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over misappropriation of RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

MACC’s probe on the judge drew criticism, with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia describing the action by the MACC as “unconstitutional and unprecedented”.

ALSO READ: SRC trial judge lodges police report against blog over 'disparaging' article

Justice Mohd Nazlan was alleged to have an “unexplained RM1mil in his bank account” as claimed by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

The judiciary has since described the article as “false, baseless and malicious allegations” aimed at tarnishing Justice Mohd Nazlan’s credibility and to interfere with the justice system and the judicial institution.

The Malaysian Bar, which called for balanced investigations, also demanded a probe be carried out into the police report lodged by Justice Mohd Nazlan on Thursday (April 21), denying the accusations which he said were malicious, baseless and aimed at tarnishing his credibility as a judge.

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