Muda sues MACC over jurisdiction in probe against Justice Nazlan

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Muda has filed a suit against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the agency’s finding on the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009, which it claimed was out of the agency’s jurisdiction.

The originating summons was filed through law firm Messrs Lim Wei Jiet at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday (April 12).

The lawsuit is in relation to a letter by MACC that went viral on social media which implicated Court of Appeal judge Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali as breaching the Judges’ Code of Ethics.

Justice Mohd Nazlan, then a High Court judge, had convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the RM42mil SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

Raja Faisal Hishan/The Star

He sentenced Najib to 12 years’ imprisonment and a RM210mil fine in the case.

In a supporting affidavit affirmed by Muda’s secretary-general Amir Hariri Abd Hadi, he said the MACC’s letter dated Feb 20 and another letter from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said dated March 20 revealed a serious transgression on the part of MACC.

“The MACC’s powers to investigate are confined to offences under the MACC Act 2009.

“It does not have the jurisdiction, authority and purview, much less any expertise, to investigate and make findings on breaches on the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009 or conflict of interest on the part of superior court judges,” Amir Hariri said.

Any complaints on the ethics, he added, ought to be directed to and be dealt with by the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice pursuant to Article 125(3) and (3A) of the Federal Constitution, or the Judges’ Ethics Committee under the Judges’ Ethics Committee Act 2010.

If the court does not hold MACC accountable for the transgression, Amir Hariri said MACC would continue to overstep its authority and interfere in matters within the purview of other investigating agencies which would result in confusion and uncertainty in law enforcement.

“This would also threaten judicial independence, the doctrine of separation of powers and the rule of law,” he added.

Muda also questioned the manner and timing in which the letters made their way to the public domain, which it claimed: “clearly demonstrate a lack of bona fide as well as an assault towards judicial independence and the separation of powers”.

“It is also shocking why the Minister (Azalina) saw fit to answer queries from Najib’s lawyers on any aspects of the MACC’s investigation via penning the March 30 letter, when these queries should be directed to and be dealt with by MACC exclusively,” Amir Hariri said.

Muda is seeking a court declaration that the MACC’s finding or view that Justice Mohd Nazlan had breached the Judges’ Code of Ethics or had a conflict of interest in presiding over the SRC International Sdn Bhd case was unlawful and unconstitutional.

The case is fixed for case management before Senior Assistant Registrar Lee Ka Full on May 15. – The Star