Tommy Thomas wanted bounty on Jho Low

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Former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, in his latest memoir, revealed that he had wanted a bounty put on fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho.

Thomas said he was sceptical about the capture of Low, widely known as Jho Low, as he could bribe his way out of troubles using the large amount of 1MDB funds he allegedly stole.

As such, Thomas said he proposed for a bounty to be put on Jho Low, but the government and police were not receptive to the idea.

“I recommended that Malaysia offers a bounty for his capture and return to face justice.

“After all, that was how Jesse James was captured in the 19th century.

“The British colonial authorities also offered a bounty in the mid-1950s for Chin Peng, the leader of the Malayan Communist Party,” he said in his memoir “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”.

Thomas said the law did not prohibit the payment of money to whistleblowers or informants who provide information that leads to the arrest of an alleged criminal.

“I made my recommendations to the prime minister, finance minister and inspector-general of police, but regrettably I did not receive a favourable response.

Then inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun had publicly floated the idea of a bounty in 2019, but it never materialised.

His successor Abdul Hamid Bador lamented that foreign authorities had been uncooperative in the hunt for Low.

A bewildered Abdul Hamid said among the excuses given was that Low had undergone plastic surgery and now “resembled a bear”.

Criminal cases against Low’s associates in the US revealed that he maintains a wide network, despite being a fugitive.

He paid a US lobbyist to help convince the US Department of Justice to drop the 1MDB case against him.

US court filings also revealed his links to the communist government in China.

Low reportedly lobbied on behalf of a minister from China for the deportation of Chinese dissent Guo Wengui from the US.

Beijing has maintained that it was not harbouring Low.

Low was charged in absentia at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for money laundering involving US$1.03 billion (RM4.16 billion) in December 2018.

Similar charges have also been brought against him in the US in November 2018.

Low, who remains at large, denounced the charges as “political”.

Low is a key figure in the 1MDB scandal and allegedly used his global network to mastermind the looting of the state-owned fund under then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and a RM210 million fine over the theft of money belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former 1MDB subsidiary.

He is also facing various other charges related to the 1MDB scandal.

Najib remains a free man for now, pending his appeal against conviction in the SRC International trial. – Malaysiakini

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