Lawyers push for answers on Bala’s second statement

Clara Chooi, TMI

A group of 14 lawyers have filed a motion to the Malaysian Bar calling for an Independent Investigation Committee to be set up to uncover the details surrounding former private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s two sworn statements on the 2006 Altantuya Shaariibuu murder.

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee confirmed with The Malaysian Insider this evening that the motion was filed yesterday, and said its contents will be debated during the Malaysian Bar’s annual general meeting this March 16.

“Yes, it must be debated. I will respond to the matter during the AGM,” the outgoing council president said.

He said the council’s probe on Balasubramaniam’s two statutory declarations (SDs) is still ongoing, but noted that businessman Deepak Jaikishan, who has admitted to knowing the lawyer who drafted the contentious second SD, had declined to help with the investigation.

“Yes, he said he will only speak with the council after March 16,” Lim said.

The Bar Council had announced in January that was investigating the identity of the lawyers and possible misconduct in the drafting of Balasubramaniam’s second SD, which the former private eye has said was signed under duress.

Deepak recently admitted he had been the one who helped in getting Balasubramaniam to repudiate his earlier statutory declaration on the matter, including getting two lawyers to draft the new statement.

The identities of the two lawyers were never made known, however, as Deepak said they had cold feet before a press conference to publicise the sworn statement.

In a recent interview, however, Deepak reportedly exposed the name of one of the lawyers, prompting calls on the Bar Council to investigate the possibility of professional misconduct against the lawyer for drafting an SD that was based on allegedly false information.

Former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) adviser, Tan Sri Robert Phang, also publicly named renowned lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham as one of those who drafted the document.

Noting the events surrounding the two SDs, the group of 14 lawyers said in their motion notice that should Deepak’s and Balasubramaniam’s claims prove true, the preparation of the second SD “may amount to acts of criminality under the Penal Code including  perjury, giving false information regarding an offence and obstruction of justice under Part XI of the Penal Code”.