Lawyers: Tajuddin ‘not out of the woods’ despite NFA, drug case against Vincent Tan’s son can’t be reopened

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Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who was investigated for alleged abuse of power, is still “not out of the woods” although his case has been classified as “no further action” (NFA), a lawyer said.

Salim Bashir said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) could reopen its probe against the former Prasarana chairman if there was fresh evidence.

Yusof Mat Isa

“However, it is for the public prosecutor to decide whether to frame a charge in court though there may be sufficient evidence to prove a case,” he told FMT.

Salim’s response came following a parliamentary reply to Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) by law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who said MACC had found no elements of wrongdoing against Tajuddin.

Salim said there was no time limit in filing charges against an accused or suspect and, as such, Tajuddin could still be charged.

He cited the example of former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who in January 2016 cleared then prime minister Najib Razak of any criminal offence in the SRC International and RM2.6 billion corruption cases.

Apandi said then that he had studied the investigation papers by MACC and was satisfied that there were no grounds for action.

However, in 2018, Najib was charged with abuse of power, money laundering and misappropriating RM42 million in SRC funds and convicted by the High Court in 2020.

In December last year, the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and 12-year jail term and RM210 million fine on Najib, who has now appealed to the Federal Court.

Najib’s 1MDB corruption and money laundering trial involving RM2.3 billion, which started in 2019, is ongoing in the High Court.

On March 2, Wan Junaidi said in his reply to Teo that the probe against Muhyiddin Yassin for allegedly offering government-linked company jobs in exchange for political support had also been classified as NFA.

He said the probe against Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jayakumar for alleged corruption was ongoing.

Meanwhile, lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali said a drug case against tycoon Vincent Tan’s son could not be reopened if it is true that he had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge after the prosecution had accepted a representation.

FMT

“A person cannot be tried again for another offence like trafficking as the facts could be similar in the case where he had pleaded guilty for possession of drugs,” he said.

He was responding to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s call for the case file of the tycoon’s son to be reopened.

Anwar had said there was no place for selective prosecution when dealing with allegations of corruption.

Last month, whistleblower Edisi Siasat said on its Twitter account that Tan’s son had been arrested for trafficking in a “very large quantity of drugs” in early 2020 and that there was corruption.

Then attorney-general Tommy Thomas, who denied the corruption allegation, said that to his recollection, the charges were reduced after the representations and investigation papers were studied with his officers.

It is unclear what finally transpired in court.

Rafique said the prosecution could only prosecute an accused on the same or different charge if it had obtained a discharge not amounting to an acquittal from the court.

“In this scenario, they can also charge the accused again after obtaining stronger evidence or having located witnesses,” he said. – FMT