By Aathi Shankar
The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Hamid Bador has claimed that he knew the whereabouts of Jho Low and will try to bring him to Malaysia by end of this year.
That’s an important piece of an announcement by the nation’s top cop from Bukit Aman.
Ever since Tun Mahathir Mohamad blew the financial complications suffered by the state wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), out of proportion, Jho Low has had been the personality of the controversy for past 5 years.
The fugitive businessman, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, has regularly been mentioned by Pakatan Harapan (PH) as the key man to have manipulated 1MDB and misappropriated its funds, allegedly on the behest of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram has even named Jho Low as the “alter ego, mirror image” of Najib in his opening statement to the ongoing Najib-1MDB trial.
Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has called on the authorities to bring in Jho Low to testify for justice to prevail.
“Natural justice is totally removed because I have no chance of cross-examining Jho Low, ” Shafee submitted to the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Shafee has made it clear it would be meaningless to bring in Jho Low after the trial.
Justice must be done and seen to be done, and justice delayed is justice denied, all are doctrines of the rule of law.
Didn’t PH promise Malaysians that it would be a government that upholds the rule of law?
But PH too has said that an election manifesto was not a holy book to uphold.
Anyway, Jho Low must be quickly brought to Malaysia to testify to enable the court to determine the truth in the Pekan MP’s trial.
If he was not brought in at the right time, then the judge by right shall expunge hearsay testimonies of many witnesses, especially by 1MDB’s ex-chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
So the timing must be right.
Hamid’s announcement was flawed.
He said Jho Low would be brought in to help investigations into the RM2.3 billion 1MDB scandal, which was actually far smaller amount compared with the over RM30 billion forex scandal that happened under the watch of the country’s 4th Prime Minister (PM4).
Hamid should have said “I will bring in Jho Low to testify”, not “to help investigations”.
When the IGP says “to help investigations”, it means the 1MDB probe was not over.
Najib and Barisan Nasional were ousted in the 14th General Election (GE14) last year amid widespread anger over the 1MDB scandal.
Najib has been charged with a total 42 corruption charges pertaining to 1MDB and other government-link companies (GLCs) and entities.
Is Hamid hinting that Najib had been charged prematurely based on incomplete investigations?
Najib was charged for multiple offences without proper evidence and when a key witness had been omitted by the prosecution?
How could Gopal say Jho Low was the “alter ego, mirror image” of Najib without the fugitive businessman’s witness statement and testimony in cross-examination?
Investigators, both in Malaysia and abroad, have claimed that some US$4.5 billion (RM18.86 billion) had been misappropriated from 1MDB by Jho Low and other high-level officials of the fund and their associates.
But amazingly, Najib, the 1MDB advisor, is the sole accused.
The 1MDB directors have all been spared and neutralised to be prosecution witnesses.
After some 58 days of the trial involving SRC International Sdn Bhd and 13 days into the current 1MDB trial, not a single prosecution witness had testified with any direct evidence that Jho Low was Najib’s alter ego or mirror image.
The witnesses who touched on the trumped-up Najib-Jho Low link have all based their testimonies on hearsay.
So Jho Low must testify to reveal the truth.
Hamid said he would try to bring in Jho Low.
As a lawman, the IGP shouldn’t just try.
He should bring him in, in time.