Businessman Robert Phang says that Cecil Abraham must clarify if the latter is the senior lawyer involved in drafting PI Bala’s second statutory declaration.
Making the call at a press conference here, businessman Robert Phang said he was told that Abraham was the only lawyer with the Tan Sri title.
“Cecil Abraham is a very senior lawyer and is known to be a close advisor of Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail. I have always questioned his impartiality.
“Why is everyone so afraid to mention that the Tan Sri lawyer is Cecil Abraham and that the legal firm is ZulRafique and partners?” he said.
“Is it because they are afraid to be sued by the most senior lawyer in the country who sits in the most powerful bumiputera legal firm in the country?”
But Phang stressed that he could not confirm whether Abraham was the lawyer allegedly involved in the second SD, and added that the onus was on the latter to clarify the matter.
Carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan had recently revealed in an interview that a “Tan Sri” lawyer and his son had been allegedly responsible for the preparation of Balasubramaniam’s second SD.
The second SD reversed Balasubramaniam’s first SD, released the day before, which implicated Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in the murder of Altantuyaa Shaariibuu.
Deepak had claimed that Najib had chosen the “Tan Sri lawyer and his son” to prepare the SD before Balasubramaniam was told to sign it.
Balasubramaniam had also claimed in 2009 that the SD had been prepared by another lawyer, whom he did not meet and who did not consult him when drafting the document.
Although Deepak let slip the lawyer’s name in the recent interview by PAS organ Harakah, the name was not revealed.
Similarly, lawyer-turned-activist Haris Ibrahim did not reveal the lawyer’s name in his blog, although he had disclosed the latter’s identity in a letter urging the Bar Council to probe the claims.
Close to the AG
“What is the difference of making all these references and then afraid to mention the name? I think it is unfair on the Malaysian public and Abraham,” said Phang today.
“Let it be said openly so that AG Gani Patail and Abraham can state their case.”
Phang, who is chairman of the Social Care Foundation, revealed that even prior to Deepak’s interview, he had already openly stated his objection towards Abraham’s objectivity.
“On my part, I have openly stated my opposition against Abraham’s objectiveness during some deliberations of the MACC where he defended AG Gani Patail and where his firm benefits largely from government legal work,” said Phang.
“In the MAS case, AG Gani Patail even consorted during Hajj with one Shahidan Shafie, a proxy of Tajudin Ramli, which cast grave suspicion why the Attorney-General’s Chambers was reluctant to prosecute Tajudin.
“Yet, AG Gani Patail was cleared by the MACC Advisory panel which caused me to question the objectivitiy of Ramon Navaratnam and Cecil Abraham.”
At that time, Tajudin was being investigated for graft following Malaysian Airlines’ (MAS) losses of some RM8 billion during his tenure, according to media reports.
Ramon had told news portal The Malaysian Insider after the meeting with Abdul Gani in 2011 that the AG had gone out on a limb to prove his innocence.
Lawyer not at MACC meeting
In another development, the MACC Operations Review Panel (PPO) chairman Hadenan Abdul Jalil said that fellow panelist Abraham was not present and did not take part in the panel’s decision on Nov 8 to stop investigating Balasubramaniam and Deepak over the second SD.
“The panel members agreed with the decision of deputy public prosecutor to stop the investigations,” he said in a statement today.
He added that the probe on the matter was discontinued because there were no other witnesses to support the claims made by the main witnesses, whose credibility was also in question.