By BERNAMA / Pic By TMR
Lawyers for Lim Guan Eng had expressed “shock” over Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) claim that the graft buster was not aware of the court’s decision to acquit the finance minister.
Lim’s lawyer Ramkarpal Singh in a statement said: “I am shocked that the MACC is shocked over the decision. Obviously, this matter has been brought up to the attention of the MACC by the attorney general (AG).
“They (the MACC) obviously have knowledge and been informed that the charges will be withdrawn, as the entire process involves the MACC,” said Ramkarpal
He also said it is ridiculous for the MACC to issue a statement that the graft buster was very shocked on Lim’s acquittal.
He stressed that there was no indication of the MACC not knowing prior to Lim’s acquittal.
“We were there in the morning and met up with the deputy public prosecutors, none of them said anything. We are taken aback by the MACC’s statement. It is a serious allegation and they should stop it,” said Ramkarpal.
The MACC said it was very surprised at the Penang High Court’s decision to acquit the Penang former chief minister and businesswoman Phang Li Koon on corruption charges related to the purchase of a bungalow at below market price.
“The MACC wishes to point out that the withdrawal of the case was decided by the office of the AG and not from the MACC,” the commission said in a brief statement yesterday.
The statement had gone viral on social media.
Earlier yesterday, Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail had acquitted and released Lim, 58, and Phang, 46, following the application of counsel Ramkarpal who represented Lim, and Datuk V Sithambaram and Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented Phang, for their clients to be fully acquitted from the charge, according to Bernama report.
Hadhariah said she did not agree with the application by the prosecution that the charge be withdrawn and both the accused be discharged without acquittal (DNAA).
DNAA means that the prosecution could continue with the charge against the accused.
A few groups had called for AG Tommy Thomas to explain the reasons why the prosecutors had dropped the charges against Lim. Some group even called for Thomas to resign over his action.
Meanwhile, Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) had questioned the independence of government institutions after Lim’s and Phang’s acquittal.
Its ED Cynthia Gabriel had questioned the Penang High Court’s decision and sought for clarification over the matter.
“C4, as an organisation championing anti-corruption and accountable governance, is concerned that our venerable institutions are subject to political interference and/or parti- san motivations when it comes to corruption.
“We are concerned that politicians who have actually betrayed public trust may be allowed back into the system, while others may have to suffer from trumped-up charges in the interest of defending political supremacy rather than public interest,” she said in a statement.
Lim had previously maintained that the corruption charge was politically motivated by the previous government. — Bernama