"How anyone could conduct a thorough and professional investigation without seeking and obtaining information from primary sources such as 1MDB officials and other relevant authorities, including Malaysian law officers, is something we should all learn from Attorney-General Lynch and her talented and dedicated officers ... It is a modern day wonder." - Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim
No prize for guessing the man behind it all
By Tunku Aziz
KL, 23 July 2016: The filing of civil forfeiture complaints by the United States Department of Justice for the recovery of assets in excess of US$ 1 billion that they believed to have been acquired by persons who had plundered 1MDB, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, sits uneasily with many fair-minded, thinking Malaysians.
The announcement was made by US Attorney-General Lynch in the company of at least four top officials from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.
The press conference was intended as a display of power and might of the incomparable American justice system which we know from long years of careful observation to be not what they want us to believe.
In the current investigation of the 1MDB related case, we are treated to a demonstration of very rough and ready justice that America is still capable of dispensing.
The frontier tradition is still alive and well under the thin veneer of 21st century USA. There are several features of this filing that intrigue me.
The most obvious to us who have been lectured to by Americans about the rule of law, democracy and natural justice at every turn has been the total absence of communication with 1MDB, the subject of the complaints or allegations that have triggered the FBI investigation, and the attendant hype, upheaval and excitement.
How anyone could conduct a thorough and professional investigation without seeking and obtaining information from primary sources such as 1MDB officials and other relevant authorities, including Malaysian law officers, is something we should all learn from Attorney-General Lynch and her talented and dedicated officers.
It is a modern day wonder.
Given that corruption is a serious crime against the state and society, and assuming in good faith that they have irrefutable evidence that can stand up in their law courts, why have they not pursued the matter under criminal law?
Filing the complaints under civil law would seem a little odd. Surely, they are keen on securing a conviction and sending the wrong doers to jail.
It smells. It somehow does not add up.
It is regrettable that the Americans have chosen to fight their war against cross-border corruption by hiding behind a smokescreen of high-minded moral principles that cannot stand up to close scrutiny.
Yet in the same breath, and stopping just short of naming names, they impute improper motives to our Prime Minister and cast aspersions on his reputation and character, without being able to produce an ounce of proof.
It is worth reminding ourselves that there is absolutely no suggestion in any of the investigations conducted so far by the authorities in Switzerland and Malaysia that Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had stolen anything from 1MDB.
The Public Accounts Committee, comprising Government and Opposition lawmakers, after months of exhaustive investigation and in regular consultations with the Auditor-General recently produced their authoritative report that exonerated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak from all allegations of wrong doing.
In short, the allegations against him were reckless, vindictive and frivolous. In all the circumstances, Datuk Seri Najib is innocent until proven guilty under the law.
What is shocking is that there are many among us who cannot cope with the truth and the truth is that the Prime Minister is innocent until proven guilty.
Tunku Abdul Aziz is a Malaysian corporate figure, activist and politician. He has held numerous roles in the worldwide anti-corruption movement, most prominently, vice-chairman of the board of directors of Transparency International and the former Vice-Chairman of DAP.
p.s. Cheeky headlines, indeed!Tunku Aziz didn't name anyone in his article but I can't help but think of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad! Perhaps because the two old men - Aziz is 82 and Mahathir 91 - have a lot of things in common and yet no love lost between them. In a past era, Mahathir would have lynched Lynch mercilessly for trying to do this kleptocracy thing on Malaysia or Malaysian citizens. Tunku Aziz's lashing here would be so mild compared to what Mahathir would have unleashed upon the Americans and (local politicians and activists who dare support them). We still remember what happened when Washington tried to blame the 1997 financial crisis on nepotism, corruption and cronyism of his Administration ...