Judge: Enough in Mara case to go after wrongdoers

rafizi-khairul-azwan-2KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today said there was sufficient evidence in the Mara property scandal, highlighted by Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, to call for investigations on the matter.

“There’s enough evidence to show there’s a prima facie case for an investigation to identify those involved in the property transaction,” said Judge S. Nantha Balan in his 86-page written judgment.

Only through a thorough investigation, carried out without fear or favour, he added, might the identities of the “insufferable miscreants” behind it be revealed.

The issue, brought into limelight by Rafizi, was not “the figment of a fertile and vivid imagination”, said Justice Nantha. “There’s most certainly grave cause for concern on whether certain people had misused their positions to make considerable sums of money.”

Earlier today, the court found that Umno Youth deputy chief Khairul Azwan Harun, who complained about Rafizi’s refusal to reveal his source on the scandal, was only protecting the identity.

“To expose the fingermarks would be betrayal,” he said, in dismissing the suit by the Umno Youth deputy chief against Rafizi.

The High Court ruled the Pandan MP did not defame Khairul when he touched on the property scandal.

The Judge ruled that Khairul had failed to prove his case on the balance of probabilities.

He referred to a disputed paragraph in Rafizi’s press statement on July 6 last year. “It was merely a comment that individuals involved in the Mara scandal should explain their roles,” said the Judge.

The statement, he added, did not paint Khairul as an individual who was corrupt and abused his powers.

Justice Nantha said the Mara scandal was of public interest and awarded cost of RM73,000 to Rafizi.

The Pandan MP told the media the judgment recognised that public figures can raise issues that concern the general public.

“It’s good for politicians, social activists and media whose work involves matters of public interest,” he said.

The court also said public officers should be scrutinised, he noted.