Former Attorney General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has lashed out at the Attorney General of Switzerland for saying that he had refused to cooperate in a probe related to the 1MDB scandal.
“It is not correct to say that I had refused to cooperate with the Swiss AG, whom I met twice in Switzerland, over this issue,” Apandi said when asked to comment on Michael Lauber’s statement to reporters on Tuesday (July 10).
Lauber and his delegation were in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday to meet with his counterpart and Apandi’s successor Tommy Thomas and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Lauber said that Apandi had refused to extend his cooperation when the latter headed the AG’s Chambers.
Malaysiakini reported that Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had requested for mutual legal assistance from Malaysia on two occasions, but received no response in return.
“Since 2015, (we have been) conducting our investigations in Switzerland and from the beginning, we tried to cooperate very closely together with the United States, Singapore, Luxembourg.
“And we also tried (to cooperate) with Malaysia, but at that time, in 2016, we got confirmation that the Malaysian attorney general that time didn’t want to cooperate with us,” the portal quoted Lauber as saying.
Saying that he would keep his options open including to sue the news portal that ran the article, Apandi added that the allegations were uncalled for.
“To say that I am or was uncooperative is obviously unfair and uncalled for; particularly when such a remark is made when I am no longer the AG of Malaysia.
“I was strictly following the provisions of Section 20(1)(l) of the Mutual Assistance In Criminal Matters Act 2002 (Act 621). I was just abiding by the laws that govern such cooperation in mutual legal assistance,” said Apandi.
“At the material time, when the request was sent to Malaysia in 2016, the Malaysian police were still investigating the 1MDB case.
“I recall that in my written reply to Switzerland, as the AG then, that since the Malaysian investigation was still ongoing, to accede to the Swiss request could prejudice the criminal matter in Malaysia,” he added.
Apandi was appointed as attorney general on July 2015. His appointment followed the removal of Abdul Gani Patail from the post just as he was preparing to bring charges against then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak over the 1MDB scandals.
He subsequently cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in January 2016 concerning the RM2.6 billion ‘donation’ and RM42 million from 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd transferred into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
Following the installation of the Pakatan government, Prime Minister Dr Mahahir Mohamad accused Apandi of a cover-up and the latter was made to go on leave.
Najib was finally charged on July 4 with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power in relation to transactions involving SRC International.
The first three were the same charges the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had recommended Gani bring against Najib before he was dismissed.
The charges against Najib were specific to transactions made in Malaysia.
The wider 1MDB investigation, which involves multiple international jurisdictions, is still ongoing.