KOTA KINABALU: A lawyer has questioned why Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife are still not arrested by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) pending investigation into the SRC international case.
Hamid Ismail, the Sabah PAS Head of Legal Unit, said despite the seizure of nearly RM130 million of cash (as at 24th May 2018), designer bags, watches and jewellery from the former prime minister’s house and three condominiums linked to him, the value of which was impossible to estimate due to the sheer volume as reported by the media, Najib and his wife still move freely. They could even issue press statements to the media and Najib could update his Facebook status.
“This is amongst the questions that I, as a practicing criminal lawyer, have in my mind. I note that in early October 2016, MACC had arrested a former Sabah Water Department director and his wife, and also the deputy director in the famous Sabah water scandal. It was reported in the media that on the first day of its raid, MACC seized RM114 million worth of assets – RM53.7 million in cold cash – from the said two senior officials. Six days later, they traced RM30 million more stashed in foreign banks and another RM30 million in land titles. At the time, all of them were arrested and later remanded,” he said in a statement today.
Hamid said the same happened with Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, his brother, two Umno Sabah Youth chiefs and Warisan Youth chief at the end of 2017.
MACC arrested and remanded them in relation to a probe into the alleged misappropriation of funds from rural development projects in Sabah. Raid was conducted only after remand order was granted.
“I understand that MACC has called Datuk Seri Najib twice to their office for his statements to be taken and still there is no arrest. I presume this is done under section 30(1)(a) of the MACC Act 2009. That section states that an MACC officer investigating an offence under the Act may order any person to attend before him for the purpose of being examined orally in relation to any matter which may, in his opinion, assist in the investigation into the offence.
“I have no objection to this course being taken by MACC. They have the power to do so. But the point I want to raise here is that if this is the course taken by MACC in a very high profile case, in the future, MACC should take the same course in investigating cases of the same nature or low profile cases. In other words, MACC should not use section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code to remand a person beyond 24-hour arrest for the purpose of completing the investigation. MACC should be consistent about this.
“Thus, if Datuk Seri Najib is not arrested and remanded pending completion of an investigation despite massive amount of cash and expensive items seized, a man investigated for agreeing to accept or receiving RM500 or RM5,000 bribe should not be arrested and remanded for one day or more to complete investigation. All persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law,” he added.