Lawyers file legal action against MACC over investigation into senior judge

PETALING JAYA: A group of lawyers have commenced legal proceedings against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over its investigation into Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

The lawyers – Haris Ibrahim, Nur Ain Mustapa and Sreekant Pillai – filed an originating summons naming the MACC, its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki and the government – as defendants.

In a statement by their solicitors Messrs Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, the lawyers said the investigation against Mohd Nazlan was a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers as the judiciary is an independent branch of government.

The lawyers are seeking a declaration that the investigation by MACC into Mohd Nazlan is unconstitutional.

They are also seeking a declaration that the Public Prosecutor is not empowered to institute or conduct any proceedings for an offence against serving judges of the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.

"We have also filed an application to refer two constitutional questions in relation to the reliefs sought to the Federal Court," said the lawyers in a statement on Friday (May 6).

"These are matters of grave importance that affect all persons in this country. The Federal Constitution guarantees each of us access to justice administered by a Judiciary that is free from interference of any sort," they added.

The lawyers said the Constitution guaranteed all Malaysians equality before the law and equal protection of the law.

"It is not our view that Judges of the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court are immune from criminal investigation or prosecution.

"Like all of us, they must be held accountable for any crimes they may have committed.

"However, the power to investigate and institute criminal proceedings must be balanced against the need to ensure public confidence in the Judiciary," said the lawyers.

They said the Constitution provides a mechanism to ensure accountability of judges in a manner that does not undermine public confidence.

"That mechanism involves complaints being made in writing to the Chief Justice and, where such complaints warrant removal of a judge, the appointment of a tribunal to determine that complaint.

"In the meanwhile, the judge concerned can be suspended," it said.

Allegations of judicial intimidation and interference came following divided opinion regarding the MACC's investigations into Mohd Nazlan.

MACC's investigations came following claims by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, alleging that there were funds transferred to Mohd Nazlan's account during his time as the group general counsel and company secretary of Maybank.

Azam had said the probe was launched by MACC due to a report lodged about the matter.

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

Mohd Nazlan lodged a police report against Raja Petra on April 21, denying the accusations which he said were malicious, baseless and aimed at tarnishing his credibility as a judge.

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