KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): A former deputy minister and several lawyers have questioned the Attorney General (AG) Chambers' move to withdraw its appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision to acquit former federal territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor in a RM2 million corruption case.
Former de-facto deputy law minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin described the decision to withdraw the appeal as "weird".
“The COA (Court of Appeal) was not even unanimous in setting aside the conviction that was decided by the High Court. In my view, it would be utterly weird that the Attorney General seeks to withdraw the appeal to the Federal Court,” Hanipa, who is the Sepang member of Parliament, told theedgemarkets.com.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said he was of the view that the prosecution ought to have proceeded with its appeal to the Federal Court, particularly since there was a conviction in the High Court and a dissenting judgment in the Court of Appeal.
“One judge of the Court of Appeal seems to have found that the elements of corruption were proven and so did the High Court judge.
“As such, there could have been merits in the prosecution’s appeal to the Federal Court. In light of this, the prosecution should disclose the reasons for its withdrawal of its said appeal as it is important for the public to know,” said Ramkarpal, who is also DAP's legal bureau chairman.
Such sentiments were also echoed by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who said AG Tan Sri Idrus Harun should issue a statement to explain the decision to withdraw the appeal.
He said while the AG has the discretion to appeal or withdraw its appeal at any level of the court as stipulated under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, the issue of the criminal allegations faced by a politician is a public interest matter.
“Hence, the AG should issue a formal statement to give a detailed and complete explanation of the decision. This is to ensure that there are no questions or negative perceptions about the administration of justice in criminal matters in the country.
“The people are entitled to an explanation on such cases of public interest, and any delay in clarifying the matter may result in aspersions being cast,” he added.
Haniff likewise noted that the Court of Appeal's decision to acquit Tengku Adnan was not unanimous, as there was one judge who felt the High Court's decision to convict and sentence Tengku Adnan was right.
This, he said, was grounds enough for continuing the appeal.
Another criminal lawyer, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, questioned the AG's silence on the issue.
“The decision to withdraw also comes at the back of no decision yet by the Court of Appeal over former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, after hearing the appeal six months ago on May 18,” he said.
On Wednesday, The Edge reported that the prosecution has withdrawn its appeal at the Federal Court over Tengku Adnan, better known as Ku Nan, against his acquittal of accepting a RM2 million bribe from Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd's managing director Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong.
Idrus and Ku Nan's lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan was contacted to confirm the matter, but he has yet to respond.
Tengku Adnan, 70, who is also Putrajaya MP and Umno treasurer, was found guilty last Dec 21 of the graft charge by Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan and sentenced to 12 months' jail and fined RM2 million.
This decision was overturned by Justice Datuk Suraya Othman at the Court of Appeal on July 16, along with Justice Datuk Ahmad Nasfy Yasin, while Justice Datuk Abu Bakar Jais wanted the court to keep the conviction and sentence.
This led to the prosecution filing the appeal three days later. However, the appeal was withdrawn earlier this month.
Prosecution withdraws appeal against Ku Nan's acquittal in RM2 mil graft case
Court of Appeal acquits Ku Nan of RM2 mil graft charge
Prosecution appeals against Ku Nan’s acquittal in graft case
Ku Nan sentenced to 12 months' jail and RM2m fine for corruption charge