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Swiss embassy: No comment, our AG is independent

The Swiss embassy in Kuala Lumpur has declined to comment on Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s criticism of the Swiss attorney-general's office (OAG).

According to a staff at the embassy, this is because the Swiss AG is an independent body.

"We can't comment because the OAG is independent from the government.

"The government also does not comment on open criminal proceedings," she told Malaysiakini .

According to OAG's website, the office is answerable to a supervisory authority appointed by Switzerland's legislative arm, the United Federal Assembly.

Zahid yesterday said the Swiss AG should have used "official" channels to request assistance in its probe regarding the alleged misappropriation of US$4 billion (RM16.6 billion) of funds involving Malaysian state firms and 1MDB.

By making a media statement, the deputy premier said it exposed the case to bias.

The OAG responded by saying it would not comment on political statements.

The Swiss AG's office announced last Friday that its investigations found "serious indications that funds have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies".

The revelation comes soon after attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of wrongdoing involving the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International funds in the prime minister's personal bank accounts.

Though Apandi said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations failed to discover elements of wrongdoing, detractors continued to cast aspersion on the case.

Following the decision, Malaysiakini quoted sources familiar with the investigations as claiming that MACC recommended three charges under Section 403 of the Penal Code.

Apandi's appointment as AG had also ignited speculation of an attempt to cover up the cases, since his predecessor Abdul Gani Patail was suddenly removed on health grounds after the transactions were exposed by the media based on leaked documents last July.

Gani was then leading a joint taskforce probing 1MDB.

The government has denied these allegations, while Najib has also maintained that he did not abuse public funds for personal gain.

The investigations also rekindled debate on the need for an independent AG as opposed to one who is appointed upon the recommendation of the prime minister and serves as both public prosecutor and chief legal adviser of the government, which creates a conflict of interest.

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