Senior lawyer Karpal Singh wants the Attorney-General's Chambers to investigate a scam where lawyers allegedly solicit big bucks to secure release of criminal detainees.
GEORGE TOWN: The Attorney-General’s Chambers must investigate an alleged scam where lawyers allegedly solicit big bucks to secure release of criminal detainees via the back door, senior lawyer and veteran MP Karpal Singh said today.
Under the scam, lawyers signed agreement with those charged with criminal offences, especially major crimes, or their representatives promising to “somehow secure the accused release” with a big cash payout to the main players in the case.
Karpal, whose client was directly affected by it, wants the AG’s Chambers to get to bottom of this scam and wipe it out once and for all.
He criticised lawyers who enter into such agreements, saying they are being unprofessional and unethical, and bringing the legal system into disrepute.
“It gives the impression that prosecutors and witnesses can be bought over. Such agreements are shocking, which the AG must probe immediately.
“With so many capital cases in the country, if it [this practice] is not stopped, we are heading for a lot of trouble,” said Karpal.
He claimed that his client, an Iraqi businessman Sayed Omeid facing extradition to Australia, was a victim of this scam.
Omeid lodged a report at Dangi Wangi police station last Thursday accusing two lawyers of fleecing his family of US$50,000 by falsely promising to secure his release through their contacts in the Home Ministry.
Omeid’s family agreed to pay the lawyers US$100,000, with 27% to be paid upon signing the agreement and 23% within eight days of the first payment. The balance of 50% was to be kept in a joint account until Omeid was freed.
Omeid is being detained at the immigration office at KLIA pending the outcome of his court battle against the extradition.
A copy of the alleged agreement made available to FMT was dated Feb 28, this year and bears the signatures of the two lawyers, a representative of the Omeid family and a legal firm’s rubber stamp.
Karpal, who has been representing Omeid for past two years, was alerted about it by Omeid only last month.
He has handed over the agreement to the court for further action.
“My client can’t be blamed. He was desperate to be free. When one is trouble, one will do anything,” said Karpal.