KUALA LUMPUR: The audio recordings of shocking conversations regarding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal has raised many questions, with doubts that it will have any impact on the criminal charges faced by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
While the release of the audio files by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was unusual, it would not amount to a dismissal of Najib’s cases, legal experts said.
While he disagreed with the way the recordings were released, prominent lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said, he was confident that the exposé would not stop the proceedings from continuing.
“There are other ingredients of the (alleged) crimes and questions yet to be answered by Najib.
“(His cases) would not necessarily be dismissed, but the recordings may create complications,” he said.
According to reports last Wednesday, the nine audio recordings released by MACC is said to incriminate former top officials, including Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Describing the contents as indicative of “a criminal conspiracy at the highest level”, MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said they were made public so that there would not be any attempt to undermine independent bodies.
The conversations pointed to “serious power abuse, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice and compromise of national security”, she said.
The agency had received the recordings from an anonymous source and decided to make them public after verifying their authenticity as the issues involved were of public interest Latheefa said.
However, Haniff questioned if Latheefa had sought advice from the agency’s legal officers and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (A-GC) before releasing the recordings.
“She was correct when she said she didn’t inform the prime minister, as such an action would be against the rule of law.
“All she needs to do is consult MACC’s legal officers, who come from the A-GC and get confirmation from the A-GC before releasing the clips.
“But to me, it is not right for MACC to do this.
“They should have finished their investigations and passed them to the A-G for relevant parties to be charged.”
Allowing the public to listen and make their own assumptions was improper as they may interfere with the trial, he said.
Former lawyer and former member of the MACC Advisory Board, Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas has dismissed speculation that the release of the recordings was sub judice or that it could not be used as evidence in court.
“Even if (the recordings) were illegally done, they can still be used as evidence in court. In this case, although it may be improper, it is legal and it can be used as evidence.”