The MACC disagrees with reaching a settlement with fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) as he has “damaged” the country.
The anti-graft agency’s chief commissioner Azam Baki said this in an interview with New Straits Times.
He was asked whether a settlement should be reached with Low, who is the alleged mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal and has been charged in absentia in US and Malaysian courts. Low (above) is currently at large.
“The attorney-general previously rejected his (Low’s) offer. I too disagree (with the settlement).
“I think the damage he has done to this country is too much,” Azam told the daily.
Last July, it was reported that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had rejected an attempt by Low to reach a settlement with the government by offering RM1.5 billion.
Asked for an update on the hunt for Low, Azam said the authorities are still looking for him.
“We don’t know his whereabouts. He has also probably changed his looks.”
Last week, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Putrajaya is working on bringing Low back to the country as soon as possible, although it is an arduous process to do so.
Azam was then asked whether the MACC allowing graft case suspects to turn into witnesses, was a fair deal, such as the one involving Rizal Mansor, the former aide of Rosmah Mansor.
Rizal was first investigated for receiving bribes on behalf of the wife of former premier Najib Abdul Razak in the solar hybrid project, but he later turned into the prosecution’s witness.
To this, Azam said it is up to the public prosecutor to decide whether or not to charge an accused.
“He has the prerogative to withdraw charges against an accused so that they can be used as a witness to strengthen the case.
“I was a prosecutor for 12 years, and as a prosecutor, you would appreciate the move to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and secure a conviction,” said Azam.
He noted the practice in countries like the US and the UK, where deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) is used to negotiate a settlement instead of prosecution.
“There are many big cases that used the DPA, like the Boeing and the Airbus France scandals.
“We are also venturing into this area by looking at our corporate liability law. But at the moment, we have provisions under the MACC Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act to forfeit illegal proceeds and recover them by legal means, as well as to mete out punishments by way of compounds,” Azam said. – Malaysiakini