COMMENT | If there was indeed more evidence necessary to show that the attorney-general’s (AG) sole discretionary powers to prosecute should be limited, the latest issue involving a public-listed company, Serba Dinamik, offers a very compelling one.
Briefly, four Serba Dinamik officers were, on Dec 28 last year, charged in court for providing false information about the oil-and-gas company to the stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia. The offences would have attracted a fine of RM3 million each and prison terms of up to 10 years each, as they were very serious offences.
However, on April 13, in a move that was heavily criticised, capital markets regulator, the Securities Commission (SC), merely imposed maximum compound fines against the officials instead of taking them through the court process for the criminal charges initiated. But that was not decided by the SC but the AG.
The SC said, when announcing the decision: “This follows the decision of the public prosecutor to accept the representation made to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) by Serba Dinamik and the individuals involved regarding the charges pending in court.”
This was a clear indication the SC was not in agreement with the AGC over the sentence. On April 28, the SC chairman resigned, six months into his renewed three-year term. On the next day, three other senior officials of the SC resigned.
Predictably, this has led to an enormous...