Ahmad Maslan, 33 others fail to quash notices over receipt of ‘1MDB money’

(FMT) – Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan and 33 others have failed again to obtain leave for judicial review to strike out their Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission compound notices over allegations of receiving funds from 1MDB.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Suraya Othman said their challenge on the notices by way of a civil proceeding was actually directed at the attorney-general, who was also the public prosecutor.

“Before the MACC makes an offer of compound under section 92 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act, the consent of the public prosecutor must be obtained,” she said in dismissing the appeal.

Suraya said the appellants, after receiving the notices, could decide either to accept or reject them.

She said no prosecution could be initiated if they accepted the notices. If not, the public prosecutor may institute prosecution which may result in charges preferred against them.

Suraya, who sat with Darryl Goon Siew Chye and Mariana Yahya, said it was trite law that the public prosecutor’s power to charge any person could be exercised by him at any time.

“In the present appeal, no charges have been preferred against them. At this juncture, we are of the view that it is premature for them to challenge the power of the public prosecutor in exercising his discretion to authorise the MACC to issue the compound notices,” she said.

The notices could only be challenged if they were charged.

“You just hope that will not happen. As the saying goes, don’t provoke a sleeping dog,” she said in jest.

On Feb 26 last year, High Court judge Nordin Hassan threw out the leave application as it was devoid of any prima facie arguable case.

He said it was also frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of court process.

The attorney-general and then MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya were named as respondents.

The others in the joint appeal included former Johor Bahru MP Shahrir Abdul Samad and Umno Supreme Council member Mohd Sumali Reduan.

They wanted a declaration that the decision and action of the respondents in compounding them through the ” Offer to Compound Offence” dated Oct 7, 2019, was ultra vires, invalid and cancelled and could not be enforced.

They also sought to cancel the decision and action of Latheefa in compounding them, apart from applying for an order to prevent MACC from enforcing the compound or continuing its prosecution against them.

Latheefa had said at a media conference that MACC had issued compound notices to 80 individuals and entities for receiving RM420 million believed to be from 1MDB.

She said nine individuals and 71 entities comprising 23 companies, 43 political organisations and five foundations received cheques involving the personal account of former prime minister Najib Razak.

Lawyer Mohamed Shahrul Fazli Kamarulzaman represented the appellants while senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly acted on behalf of the attorney-general and MACC.