Court allows Thomas’ application to strike out Najib’s suit
“The AG has immunity from being sued for carrying out his duties. His actions are also non-justiciable”
(FMT) – The High Court here has allowed an application by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas to strike out Najib Razak’s misfeasance in public office lawsuit brought against him.
Justice Ahmad Bache said the attorney-general has unfettered discretion to institute, reduce and withdraw charges against accused persons as provided for under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.
As such, he said, the former prime minister’s suit is “obviously unsustainable” and ought to be struck out.
Najib filed the suit against Thomas last year, claiming that the 1MDB-related criminal charges brought against him were “part of a long-planned, premeditated exercise” orchestrated by the former Pakatan Harapan government.
He alleged that Thomas, who was appointed the attorney-general on June 4, 2018, carried out his duties “in line with (those) plans”.
Thomas resigned as the attorney-general on Feb 28, 2020, following the collapse of the PH government.
In the striking out application, Thomas claimed that the suit was filed for a collateral purpose, namely “for use in (Barisan Nasional’s) campaign leading up to the Melaka state election last November and for the general election”.
Najib was seeking RM1.94 million in damages.
The judge said Najib in his suit claimed that Thomas filed a total of 35 charges in four cases that included the 1MDB and International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) cases.
The trial of these cases are underway and have yet to begin.
However, he said Najib did not include the seven corruption charges in the RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds that went into his bank accounts.
The Federal Court on Aug 23 affirmed Najib’s conviction in the SRC International case and also maintained the 12-year jail term and fine of RM210 million.
Ahmad said there was nothing to prove that Thomas had committed misfeasance in public office, had maliciously used the legal process and had been reckless in Najib’s cases.
“This can be seen in various processes of bringing one to justice which is rigorous and that the AG, who is also the public prosecutor, has to go through several stages,” he said.
He said the process entails a somewhat “built-in check and balance” procedure which will not cause Thomas to commit any civil wrong.
Ahmad said the fate of Najib will be determined by the courts, which hinges on the strength of the evidence adduced by the prosecution.
The judge said Thomas could not conduct the prosecution of the four cases as he had resigned.
Ahmad said all actions of the public prosecutor will be opened to scrutiny and undermine the discretion conferred to him and his deputies (DPP) to discharge their duties if Najib’s application is allowed.
He said Najib should not have filed the suit when the criminal trials have yet to be completed.
“It has also created confusion, and a transgression of jurisdictions between civil and criminal jurisdictions,” he said.
Najib was ordered to pay RM12,000 in costs to Thomas, who was represented by Alan Adrian Gomez and Mervyn Lai.
Counsel Yudistra Darma Dorai and Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin appeared for Najib.