Malaysiakini News

AG recuses himself from handling Guan Eng's graft case

Published:  |  Modified:

Attorney-general Tommy Thomas has recused himself from all deliberations pertaining to the graft case involving Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, following allegations of conflict of interest.

In making the announcement today, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said Thomas will not be involved in any decision that the chambers will take in Lim's case.

The said statement was jointly issued by solicitor-general Engku Nor Faizah Engku Ateh and solicitor-general II Zauyah T Loth Khan.

"Much misinformation has been circulating regarding the role of the attorney-general in taking decisions in the chambers on matters in which he was previously involved. Hence a clarification for the record is called for.

"When the attorney-general took office, he publicly declared that he accepts that the conflict of interest rule applies to him.

"Having regard to the clients he acted for, and the adverse parties in such litigation when he was practising in the Bar, the attorney-general's position is to adhere to the two solutions that the law provides in such circumstances," the statement said.

It cited the instances - the first being a case he is involved in, being personal in nature, such as that involving a counsel, or friend - where the AG will recuse himself altogether.

The decision on such case will then be jointly taken by the solicitor-general and the solicitor-general II, with the consultation of other senior members of the chambers, if need be.

The second instance is if the AG determines that recusal is not required, he would then declare his interest to other members of the decision-making team - which will be recorded by them. The AG will then participate as a member of the team in such matters.

"Regarding Lim Guan Eng's prosecution, because the case has received so much publicity, we wish to report that the attorney-general recused himself in all deliberations, and will not be involved in any decision that the AGC will take in that pending case," the statement added.

Thomas was appointed as AG to replace Mohamed Apandi Ali after Pakatan Harapan's win in the 14th general election on May 9.

Earlier this week, the High Court in Penang fixed Sept 3 as the "final date" to hear the results of the representations by Lim and businessperson Phang Li Koon to the AGC to withdraw the two graft charges against them.

Lim is facing two charges from his time as the Penang chief minister - one for allegedly seeking gratification for himself over the conversion of state land from agriculture to residential, and the other, for the purchase of a bungalow at below market value. He claimed trial to both charges.

Phang has also claimed trial to the charge of abetting Lim in obtaining the bungalow at an undervalued cost.

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