The lack of any prosecution against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman (photo) years ago has shown that the Federal Constitution must be amended to accord the MACC prosecutorial powers, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said.
He said this would give the MACC the power to institute prosecutions on its own without having to depend on the discretion of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and the attorney-general.
The commission's revelation yesterday that investigation papers it submitted on Musa to the AGC back in 2012 was not acted on, "clearly implied MACC was of the view that there was a case against Musa back then", the DAP lawmaker added.
"Musa was not charged in 2012 because the MACC lacks prosecutorial powers and depends on the consent of the public prosecutor (the AG) to initiate a prosecution against him which the public prosecutor presumably did not give," he said.
The attorney-general at the time was Abdul Gani Patail
In a statement today, Ramkarpal (photo) likened this case to former premier Najib Abdul Razak's declaration of innocence by another former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali in 2016, only for the former to be slapped with multiple criminal charges in recent months.
"If the MACC was truly independent and had its own prosecutorial powers, it could have charged Musa and Najib back then if it had evidence against them, regardless of what the AG thought," he said.
"In the circumstances, it is imperative that legislative reforms are introduced at once to the MACC Act 2009 to give the MACC the power to institute prosecutions on its own without the need to obtain the consent of the public prosecutor, which is the current position as mandated by Section 58 of the MACC Act 2009.
"Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution would also have to be amended with a two-thirds majority in Parliament to restrict the AG’s power to discontinue such prosecutions initiated by the MACC to avoid a situation where a prosecution by the MACC is discontinued by the AG at his absolute discretion."
Administration of justice
Ramkarpal said that he planned to propose such amendments when the Dewan Rakyet resumes this coming week.
He added that he was confident the motion would receive the support of the opposition, "since it is clearly for the benefit of the administration of justice and for the betterment of the country".
Yesterday, the anti-graft body made the revelation when responding to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who said that it was the MACC and not Gani, who should explain why Musa was not charged in 2012.
Musa, who is Sungai Sibuga assemblyperson, was instead charged on Monday with 35 counts of graft for receiving a total of US$63,293,924.88 (RM263 million) in bribes in exchange for logging contracts issued between 2004 and 2008.
Appointed prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram had then told the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court that the case against Musa had already been investigated by the MACC for some time but it had inexplicably been ordered closed.