MACC found no criminal elements in Nazlan probe, says PM

Anwar Ibrahim says allegations of Nazlan Ghazali violating the ethical code were a non-issue since the Federal Court had ruled on the matter.

(FMT) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission did not find any elements of criminal offences in its investigation of appeal court judge Nazlan Ghazali, says Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar told the Dewan Negara that MACC had “thoroughly” investigated claims that Justice Nazlan had a conflict of interest when, as a high court judge, he presided over Najib Razak’s trial in the SRC International case.

“MACC found no criminal element and the Attorney-General’s Chambers agreed,” said the prime minister.

Anwar said allegations that Nazlan had violated the Judges’ Code of Ethics were a non-issue, as the Federal Court had made a ruling on the matter.

He also pointed out that Najib had retracted allegations of bribery against Nazlan in an affidavit to the Federal Court in August 2022.

However, Najib insisted that there was evidence of a conflict of interest when the judge presided over his SRC case.

Anwar reiterated that the Federal Court had found that Nazlan’s previous job with Maybank as its general counsel had nothing to do with Najib’s charges.

In March, law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said had said in a letter to Najib’s solicitors that MACC had concluded that the judge had violated the code of ethics and had a conflict of interest when presiding over the SRC case.

She had said this was based on a report of MACC’s findings dated Feb 20, which the agency had extended to her.

On Feb 24, a seven-member Federal Court panel led by Tengku Maimun ruled that MACC had not followed protocol when conducting its investigations into Nazlan.

The apex court said investigating bodies like MACC must consult the chief justice before initiating a probe against judges. Its failure to do so showed there was “a lack of bona fide on their part”.

Nazlan, now a judge on the Court of Appeal, had convicted Najib in July 2020 on charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International.

He sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210 million. Najib’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed in December 2021. The Federal Court on Aug 23 last year upheld the conviction and sentence.

Najib began serving his 12-year prison term immediately following the Federal Court decision.

In April, a separate Federal Court bench dismissed Najib’s application for a review of his conviction and sentence.