Police can interview Rewcastle-Brown in London, says lawyer

S N Nair says the Sarawak Report editor cannot be compelled to come to Malaysia on her own expenses for police to start investigating reports lodged over RM9.5 million allegedly paid to lawyer Shafee Abdullah.

s-n-nair_Rewcastle-Brown_ Police can interview Rewcastle-Brown in London, says lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police officers can head to London to record a statement from Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown following reports made that a lawyer had received RM9.5 million from the prime minister’s personal bank account, a lawyer said.

S N Nair said Rewcastle-Brown could not be compelled to come to Malaysia on her own expenses for police to start their investigation.

“Police officers could record a statement under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code in London,” he said in response to IGP Khalid Abu Bakar’s statement that he could not guarantee Rewcastle-Brown safe passage if she were to come to Malaysia.

Nair, a former police officer, said in the past, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and police officers had travelled abroad to record statements from witnesses.

He cited the example of police having met the late private investigator P Balasubramaniam in Bangkok in July 2008 to record his statement.

Police were then probing Balasubramaniam for allegedly making a false statutory declaration (SD) .

Balasubramaniam, a witness in the murder trial of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu made a controversial SD, claiming there had been a link between Altantuya and the then deputy prime minister Najib Razak.

The following day, he retracted the SD and came out with a second SD before he and his family left for India.

Nair said Khalid’s statement today gave the impression that police were not interested in pursuing the investigation into reports made by opposition politicians two weeks ago

“The police are bound to investigate a case once a report has been made,” he said.

Nair said Khalid could not dismiss the report by Sarawak Report on the RM9.5 million transfer as hearsay, but that they should proceed to record a statement from Rewcastle-Brown.

He said it was for the attorney-general to determine the outcome of a police investigation.

Rewcastle-Brown is reported to have said that Malaysian police were free to see her in the UK if they wished to speak to her.

Nair was curious to know if police had classified the case following the reports made.

The whistleblower website had alleged that the money had been wired into lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s account from the prime minister’s bank account.

The report said that the RM9.5 million was made out in two payments, on September 2013 and February 2014.

On June 9, asked about the allegation, Shafee had told FMT: “I will issue a statement, but not today.”

Shafee, who was appointed ad-hoc prosecutor in July 2013, secured the conviction of former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy in the Court of Appeal in March the following year.

The Federal Court affirmed the conviction and the five year jail term in 2015.

In 2012, the High Court, after a lengthy trial, acquitted Anwar of the sexual misconduct crime which led the government to file an appeal.