PETALING JAYA: Former attorney-general Tommy Thomas today insisted that he did not make any decisions during his time in office to drop money laundering charges against Hollywood film producer Riza Aziz.
He said it was “absolutely shocking” to him that the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) was standing by its statement that he had agreed to the settlement between Riza and the government, where Putrajaya is expected to recover US$107.3 million (RM467 million) in assets from Riza.
“It defies credibility. If their fiction has any factual foundation, it would mean that I took the decision to drop the prosecution against Riza on or before Feb 28.
“But the decision was only implemented in court two months later, and not at the earliest opportunity, which was during March 12 (when the case was mentioned),” Thomas said, in detailing the chronology of events leading to Riza’s discharge.
Thomas resigned as attorney-general on Feb 28 after the Pakatan Harapan government was dissolved.
Prior to his resignation, Thomas said he knew Riza’s lawyers had submitted written representations, from late last year, to review the money laundering charges, adding that it was a common scenario.
“Hence, there was nothing sinister about the sending of representations by Riza’s solicitors. Whether I personally acted in agreeing to their request for a discharge is an altogether separate issue. I did not. It is as plain and simple as that.”
Thomas said he passed Riza’s letters to ad-hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram to study the representation and recommend a response.
“Until my resignation, I had not received any advice from Sri Ram. Thus, I did not decide on the representations of Riza prior to my resignation,” he added.
The Sessions Court on Thursday allowed the prosecution, led by Sri Ram, to grant Riza an order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).
Sri Ram told judge Azman Ahmad that “an agreement has been arrived at between the prosecution and the accused under the terms of which the federal government will receive a substantial sum running into several million ringgit”.
MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki later said Malaysia was expected to recover US$107.3 million from Riza.
Thomas had disputed Azam’s statement, adding that he did not give his agreement while in office.
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