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Tommy Thomas applies to strike out Shahrir Samad's suit against him

Publish date: Tue, 27 Feb 2024, 07:03 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas earlier this month made an application to strike out a lawsuit filed by Tan Sri Shahrir Samad against him for alleged malicious investigation, prosecution and wrongful arrest.

Shahrir, who is former Felda chairman, had in December last year filed a suit naming Thomas and three others, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), as defendants.

The suit was over a RM1 million cheque he had received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for the purpose of rehabilitation works for the Puri Langkasuka housing project in Larkin, Johor.

Thomas, who was the AG from June 4, 2018 to February 28, 2020, had in his affidavit in support denied Shahrir's claims against him in the state of claim (SOC), which included misfeasance in public office, and describing it as "unsustainable."

He said the discretion whether to charge only becomes exercisable after the public prosecutor (PP) is presented with the investigation papers (IP) submitted by investigating agencies such as the MACC.

"The PP has no control or power over the investigation process itself, which is meant to be and is independently carried out by such independent agencies.

"The PP's office does not carry out any investigation into any alleged crime," he said.

Thomas said in exercise of his direction as PP, he decided to charge Shahrir with a money-laundering offence under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 for failing to declare to the Inland Revenue Board the earnings of RM1 million.

Thomas said in preferring a charge against Shahrir, he was briefed by the investigating officers and read for himself the IP provided to by the MACC.

He said upon being satisfied that the prosecution has a good case to prosecute the plaintiff (Shahrir), he decided to charge Shahrir and it was done in Jan 2020.

Thomas said he resigned on Feb 28, 2020 and on July 26, 2022, Shahrir's criminal trial for the charge commenced.

He said Shahrir, being an Umno member, did not have his charge dropped even when the political party led the federal government at that time.

On Jan 5 last year, the High Court ordered Shahrir a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. (DNAA).

"It is crucial to keep in mind that after my resignation in February 2020, I was not responsible for maintaining the charge and commencing the criminal trial on July 26,2022.

"Nor was I responsible for making the decision to discontinue the prosecution against the plaintiff in Jan 2023. I would not have done so," he said.

He added his successor did not withdraw the charge against the plaintiff and had allowed the prosecution to proceed with the criminal trial before instructing the deputy public prosecutor to apply for the DNAA discharge.

"I have been singled out as a defendant in the capacity of the AG or PP.

"The plaintiff's claim against solely me in this respect is obviously due to the fact that I was the AG who charged him during my tenure when Pakatan Harapan formed the federal government, in pursuit of a personal vendetta against the respective heads of the Attorney-General's Chambers and the MACC at the time he was charged.

"If the plaintiff's claims against me as the AG or PP were allowed to proceed to trial based on the meek and vague allegations made in the SOC, it would open the floodgates for bringing claims against any AG or PP and deputy public prosecutors by those charged and acquitted.

"That would be contrary to the public and national interest," he said.

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