A-G must still prosecute Tajuddin, says Mat Zain

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — A former senior cop has called for charges to be brought against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli saying the withdrawal of civil suits against the former Malaysian Airline (MAS) chairman does not indemnify him against criminal culpability.

Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider today that Putrajaya’s decision to settle with Tajuddin out of court and directive to government-linked corporations to drop their cases against the latter did not mean that two police reports and another made to anti-graft enforcers were nullified.

“Even if MAS and other GLCs were to drop all civil claims against Tajuddin, they have no or power to indemnify Tajuddin from criminal liabilities. For that matter, no minister or even the Attorney-General has the authority.

“In fact, police have recommended that several criminal charges be preferred against Tajuddin and few others,” the former Kuala Lumpur criminal investigation chief said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told The Malaysian Insideryesterday that he had written to GLCs earlier this month seeking for them to withdraw their suits, worth at least RM2 billion, to buy time for all concerned parties to reach a “win-win” agreement and put an end to the prolonged financial saga involving Tajuddin.

He said the matter was referred to Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah, who then directed him to pen the letter, noting that Tajuddin’s case was scheduled for case management in court yesterday.

“Since it involved the law and I am the minister in charge of law, Husni told me, why don’t you look into this. It is not a cloak-and-dagger move… we knew this would come out somehow and there is nothing to hide. I wrote that letter using my letterhead,” said Nazri.

Mat Zain added today that MAS has lodged at least three reports against Tajuddin and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has “made it known to public that their investigation on Tajuddin is still ongoing.”

“It is also within public knowledge that sometime in March 2007, the former Director of Commercial Crime Investigation Department Datuk Ramli Yusuf had briefed then prime minister Tun Abdullah  Badawi on police investigations based on MAS’s reports.

“The billion ringgit question is why our Attorney-General is still reluctant. I am sure Tan Sri Gani Patail is fully aware that he cannot indemnify Tajuddin’s criminal liabilities despite the fact that they are in some ways connected,” he said.

Mat Zain, who led the police probe into former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye incident in 1998, said that as only the A-G could initiate criminal proceedings, it was up to Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step in and inquire into Gani’s conduct.

He has repeatedly attacked Gani for his failure to prosecute several high profile cases and called for the prime minister to axe the A-G.