‘MACC doesn’t need prosecution powers’

By The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Anti-corruption authorities like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission (MACC) need not be given prosecution powers as certain quarters in Malaysia have suggested, said former Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner Bertrand de Speville.

He feels the tradition of the separation of powers within the criminal justice system should be maintained even as Malaysia addresses serious criminal cases involving corruption.

“It is best that the investigators investigate, prosecutors prosecute, and the trying and sentencing be left to the courts,” he told a press conference after attending a briefing-cum-question and answer session with the MACC advisory board and members of its various committees and panels here yesterday.

“I do not think the anti-corruption authorities should have or need powers to prosecute, and I think it is important to maintain our basic principles of criminal justice that include the separation of functions in investigating, prosecuting, trying and punishing.

De Speville, who is in Malaysia to promote his book Overcoming Corruption – The Essentials, served as commissioner at Hong Kong’s anti-graft commission from 1993 to 1996, and is currently a consultant in the field.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed, who was also present at the press conference, said de Speville had told the Malaysian officials to never ignore any grouses raised by the public or complaints lodged with the MACC no matter how trivial they might seem.

He said de Speville had stressed that in order to keep public confidence in the commission, it was crucial that it pursued every case, regardless of whether it was big or small and not take any complaint lightly.