KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Oct 2008: The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) refused to confirm if it is investigating the possible abuse of power brought to light by the alleged exchange of text-messages involving the deputy prime minister.
Deputy director-general Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed said the ACA will not make public such information as it would not be fair to those involved.
“If we feel that there is any offence, we will investigate. But we won’t answer whether we are investigating (the case). It is not fair to the persons involved,” said Abu Kassim, adding that it was privileged information.
The alleged text-message exchange took place over a period of about one month, from 8 Nov to 2 Dec 2006, between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Shafee Abdullah.
Shafee was the initial counsel for Abdul Razak Baginda, an adviser to Najib, who was charged with abetting the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu. Two police officers have been charged with her murder.
The text messages first came to light in news portal Malaysia-Today on 11 Oct, Since then, opposition parties and some civil societies have charged that the SMS show an abusive of power by Najib.
Abu Kassim, however, confirmed to The Nut Graph that no one has lodged a report to the ACA on the alleged abuse of power by Najib in relation to this matter.
The chair of Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee, Edmund Bon, said the text messages, if true, raise serious questions which require further investigation.
“The text messages infer that Najib did not take a passive role in the investigations leading to the prosecution of the three accused. It appeared that Najib had untrammeled access to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and high-ranking officers at the Attorney General’s Chambers,” said Bon.
“The sentence of ‘RB will have to face a tentative charge but all is not lost’ gives rise to suspicion of political interference,” said Bon.
Bon said it gives the impression that the police and Attorney General’s Chambers, after negotiating with Najib, had decided to pursue the prosecution but merely to keep up the public appearance that they are independent.
Yesterday, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth leader Badrul Hisham Shaharin and five persons from Sekretarian Anak Muda Malaysia lodged a police report against Najib alleging that he misused his power in the case.
When reached, the deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar refused comment as he had not read the report yet.
Najib himself has denied there was any abuse of power. But more tellingly, neither has he denied that the text message exchanges between him and Shafee were genuine.