Prosecutorial misconduct by Tommy Thomas

Ong Eu Soon

Modified 4 Sep 2018, 2:55 am

LETTER | Tommy Thomas as a federal prosecutor has compromised his impartiality when he decided to drop the corruption cases against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng without offering any valid reasons.

Thomas had previously represented Lim in his ongoing corruption case.

Thomas should not be part of any decision involving cases in which he had been personally involved, including in the graft case involving Lim.

Thomas claimed that he has recused himself from the graft case involving Lim, but his decision to drop the charges against the latter is not in line with his assurance at the start of his appointment last June, to stay away from cases which would be interpreted as a conflict of interest on his part.

The attorney-general, when deciding whether or not to charge anyone, must act honestly as the guardian of the public interest.

Unfortunately, Thomas doesn't seem like he has acted without the fear of powerful national and local figures, or of the consequences to him personally or politically, and without favouring his relatives and friends and supporters.

Thomas has failed to maintain the rule of law so as to maintain standards in public life and the private sector.

He, like his predecessor, Mohamed Apandi Ali, was remiss in carrying out his functions.

The attorney-general, not only needs to be diligent, strict, and vigorous in enforcing the law, but also to be just and protect the spirit and letter of our civil liberties.

Thomas’s overeagerness to serve the political interests of the ruling coalition is in derogation of the institution’s traditional commitment to the rule of law.

His decision to drop the corruption cases against Lim is a serious prosecutorial misconduct. Thomas should be investigated and dismissed from the Attorney-General's Chamber.

There is a need for an implementation of policies constraining the prosecutor's discretion. Prosecutorial discretion should be constrained through supervisory oversight by the Parliament.

The events surrounding the discharge of Lim's corruption cases offer an occasion to reconsider conventional wisdom about how prosecutorial powers should be allocated. Who should make which discretionary decisions, and on what basis?

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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