The next in line to seek public examination and interrogation over his conduct as a result of the recent memoirs of the ex-AG is none other than the ex-ex-AG, Apandi Ali.
Apandi, who frankly became a global laughing stock over his handling of 1MDB (will a suit against SR now be forthcoming?) has objected to references to him in Tommy Thomas’s frank narrative “Justice In The Wilderness”.
He has told reporters he was particularly offended by remarks, specifically on page 199.
Since he has brought attention to these remarks by reporting them to the police on grounds of alleged criminal defamation and then releasing a statement naming the page, let’s remind ourselves what they say:
Najib appointed Apandi Ali as the new Attorney General, with a single remit. Apandi was to clear Najib of all wrongdoings associated with 1MDB. His only client was the Prime Minister; the new Attorney General did not have to concern himself with acting for the Federal Government or the Cabinet. Apandi Ali was to prove himself a loyal and effective personal legal adviser to Prime Minister Najib.
I knew Apandi Ali from our Bar Council days…… Apandi always displayed his UMNO badge during deliberations of the Bar Council. There was no pretention of neutrality…..
In early 2016, Apandi cleared Najib of all wrongdoings in 1MDB. He effectively closed the file. The Attorney General also refused to use his extensive powers under Mutual Legal Assistance laws to secure documents and information from countries like the United States, Switzerland and Singapore, which had announced their own investigations into 1MDB matters. These jurisdictions were happy to share their resources with Malaysia, but Apandi Ali rebuffed them”
[Justice In The Wilderness, by Tommy Thomas]
Since Apandi factually performed as described above it is hard to work out why he should be aggrieved, except perhaps that he feels the motive was misrepresented.
Why he would voluntarily wish to have to explain before a court the reasons he refused to pursue investigations into the world’s biggest theft and a now convicted kleptocrat by announcing there had been “no wrongdoing” in early 2016 is anyone’s guess.
Five years later (and after much extra expensive legwork thanks to his obstructions) it is now plainly evident there had been glaring wrongdoings. Najib has been damningly convicted on rock solid evidence.
That was plain as daylight at the time as well, of course. On the day he closed down the investigations Apandi waved documents before the cameras that proved how investigators had already identified money trails from 1MDB into Najib’s own accounts. He gave the game away.
We all know what Najib’s excuses turned out to be. However, the judge chucked them out and rightly so. The excuses to one side, those money trails proved money was missing from 1MDB, which was something Apandi got up and denied to the country and the world that day. He continued to do so until removed from office.
Take just one example from the day after the FBI published the devastating money trails from 1MDB in July 2016, where he again also contradicted the evidence on his own investigation papers (now proven true to the last bank account number which he had flashed before the cameras):
The attorney-general emphasised that to date, there has been no evidence from any investigation conducted by any law enforcement agencies in various jurisdictions which shows that money has been misappropriated from 1MDB,” Apandi said in a statement today. [Malaysiakini 21 July 2016]
So Apandi was plain wrong. That is a settled fact.
Does he therefore object to Thomas’s suggestion that he behaved as he did because he had been appointed with a “single remit” which was “to clear Najib of all wrongdoings associated with 1MDB.” and that “His only client was the Prime Minister”?
If so, he needs to provide less defamatory reasons for his decisions, which could be hard. Is it that he was instead just completely stupid and was struggling to comprehend what the rest of the country and entire global community could see quite clearly?
Or, does he think the conviction of Najib was a travesty by the Malaysian court and that ex-PM should be let off the hook, perhaps on the grounds of Najib’s own excuse that he was gulled by his juniors into enabling stolen billions to be directed into his own accounts?
In which case, Apandi either has to declare himself hopelessly stupid or unable to understand the law, which can hardly be less defamatory than Tommy Thomas’s conclusion, which was that he was working for Najib.
Alternatively, Apandi could be of the view that the matter needed covering up for the benefit of UMNO, which he may well have convinced himself (given that political opinions tend to be self-serving) was in the wider public interest.
In which case, he will have to own up that he was indeed placing politics before the law, just as his successor said he was.
Of course, no lawyer would wish to be stuck trying to justify the merits of such a threadbare case for defamation. Sarawak Report suggests the ex-AG employed a difference tactic when he marched into the police station.
His complaints are likely to have kept well away from issues linked to his own failings and behaviour while in office, focusing on claims instead that his successor was somehow bound by his terms of office to keep such matters secret.
Whilst attacking Thomas on matters of form and practice, he will then seek to take advantage of the case by using it give the impression he is pushing back over Thomas’s references to his own failings and misconduct, which are a completely separate matter.
After all, it is unlikely that Apandi is any more stupid than Najib. Just another crafty lawyer.