AG clarifies he didn't talk to EC chief on Rafizi's case

Modified 8 Dec 2019, 10:26 am

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas has clarified that he did not consult Election Commission chief Azhar Azizan Harun with regard to PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli's case under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia).

"Yes, I did not speak to him (Azhar) about it," he was quoted as saying by The Edge Markets.

On Friday, The Edge Markets had quoted Thomas (photo) as saying his officers had appealed against Rafizi's acquittal despite a decision not to pursue the case further.

"I am shocked as it was decided after a discussion I had with Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun that we will not be appealing. And the decision was conveyed to the relevant officers," he was quoted as saying in the earlier report.

The mention of Azhar has led to confusion as the case had nothing to do with the Election Commission.

Azhar today denied he was ever consulted on Rafizi's case and said the only time he had spoken to Thomas on a case was with regard to PKR vice president Tian Chua's suit on his eligibility to stand for election, a case which the EC was a party to.

The latest report did not explain why it had quoted Thomas raising Azhar's name in the Rafizi matter.

The confusion had led critics, including PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, asking Thomas to clarify the matter.

"It is curious that the attorney-general was quoted as saying that he had discussed the matter with Azhar when the case had nothing to do with the EC.

"Therefore, PAS demands a further explanation from the attorney-general on the matter," the Kota Bharu MP said in a statement.

Lawyer Haniff Khatri had also asked Thomas to explain Azhar's denial, claiming that the attorney-general had unnecessarily dragged the EC into the matter.

"It is of utmost importance for Thomas, as the attorney-general, to provide a reasonable explanation about Azhar's statement," he said in a separate statement.

Thomas had said his office will drop the appeal against Rafizi's acquittal tomorrow and initiate disciplinary action against the officer responsible for the appeal.

Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali had defended the officer's move, claiming the Attorney-General Chambers normally automatically appeals cases which it loses.

Rafizi was charged under Bafia for revealing banking information as part of a whistleblower initiative in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.

Former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's family was granted an RM250 million government loan for the project but the funds were also used for other purposes, including the acquisition of properties.

Rafizi had criticised the appeal against him and said he hoped the attorney-general will be as diligent in bringing justice against those who benefited in the NFC scandal.

"None of them has been charged in court so far," he said.

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