‘Rafizi is open to prosecution, civil action if SD is false’

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PETALING JAYA: Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli is open to civil and criminal prosecution if he has made a false declaration that former PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa is a recipient of funds allegedly diverted from 1MDB, a lawyer said.

“Rafizi has stuck his neck out,” N Sivananthan said in response to the contents of the allegation made in a statutory declaration (SD).

He said Nasharudin or any member of the public could lodge a report over Rafizi’s SD for the police to start an investigation.

Sivananthan, who practises criminal law, said police could probe Rafizi under Section 199 of the Penal Code for intentionally giving a false statement in any declaration.

Whoever found guilty could be jailed up to three years and also fined (the amount to be determined by the court).

He said the PKR vice-president could also be investigated for criminal defamation under Section 499 of the Penal Code.

Anyone found guilty can be sentenced up to two years’ jail or a fine, or both as provided under Section 500.

He said Rafizi could also be slapped with a defamation suit since Nasharudin has been directly implicated in the SD.

“The allegation is serious and Rafizi has put it in black and white. I suppose he is pretty confident with his source or the information he possesses,” he said.

He said Rafizi’s defence must be that the contents in the SD are true.

“The truth will protect him from criminal prosecution and a defamation suit,” he added.

He said even if the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer, who allegedly provided the information denies the matter, the onus is on Rafizi to prove the truth of the SD.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said Rafizi could also run foul of the law should he use a false SD in court proceedings.

He said Section 200 of the Penal Code imposed a jail term of up to three years and also a fine, at the discretion of the court.

Haniff said an SD was a sworn statement before a commissioner for oaths and could be tendered in court.

He said Rafizi could be subjected to cross-examination to determine the veracity of its contents.

“An SD will also have evidential value if the maker is not around. The court will decide the weight to be attached to the statement,” he said.