6 Jan 2011

Ramon: Roasted over AG Haj trip issue

Some anti-graft body members are cheesed off with Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail being absolved of any wrong doing during his haj trip.The target of their umbrage is Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission's, Corruption Prevention Committee Chairperson Ramon Navaratnam for having said that the whole panel was satisified that the AG was innocent when it was just his personal opinion.

Although they admitted that Abdul Gani seemed truthful and produced receipts and invoices acquired during his haj trip it was not Ramon's (left) role to clear him.

This view was shared by fellow panel members Robert Phang Miow Sin and Prof Dr Ishak Tambi Kechik.

Ishak said it was improper for Ramon to reveal to the press, what he considers as the former's personal opinion, as what had actually transpired at the meeting.
"Ramon was quoted to have said that the MACC panel members were satisfied with Abdul Gani's explanation as there was no evidence to link him with the accusations. This is his personal view as the matter was not discussed at the panel meeting held after the Abdul Gani briefing," he said.

He added that he will raise the issue at the at the next Corruption Prevention Committee meeting.

"I also have my own views. But, I cannot divulge what they are."

Ishak said as the briefing with AG was a closed door affair, he cannot divulge details of what had transpired and was surprised that Ramon had done by disclosing some of them.

Phang, who has been one of the most vocal about the allegations against Abdul Gani concurred that Ramon had misrepresented the panel.

"He should not play the role of a judge in determining a person's innocence. This is improper and to say that this represented the views of the panel was certainly misrepresentation," he said.

It is learnt that Abdul Gani nearly broke down when he tried to clear himself of the allegations.

He had presented vouchers and reciepts to prove that he had made the payments.

Apparently, Abdul Gani, his wife and son had paid for the trip which amounted to over RM60,000 each through his and his wife's savings.

However, the reciept and vouchers were only shown to MACC's chief commissiner Abu Kassim Mohammed and his deputy Shukri Abdull.

Phang: AG should step forward

Phang, (right) said he respected Abdul Gani's frankness in organising the meeting with the MACC.

"I respect him for clearing the air by showing the reciepts and etc. Coming out with his own money to pay for the trip to fulfil the religious obligation is commendable" he said.

"However, I feel Abdul Gani should clear the air in the public rather than briefing us only. The allegations were made in the public domain.

"That is why I have asked him to personally rebut the allegations circulating in the public domain. It is only proper the attorney general clear this in public."
There is no other solution, he said but for Abdul Gani to go public.

"I hope the attorney-general will hold a press conference to clear this as it is not right for a public prosecutor to remain mum on the issue," he said.

Phang also revealed that Abdul Gani had described Shahidan Shafie just a friend.

Shahidan, is alleged to be Tajudin's proxy and the allegations which surfaced over the Internet especially on the Malaysia Today website claimed that the former had played a role resulting in the former MAS chairperson not being charged.

It was alleged that Shahidan had possibly paid Abdul Gani and his family's haj trip last year.

Malaysiakini had then contacted Abdul Gani and Shahidan regarding the allegations but both refused to comment.

Phang said Abdul Gani had also briefly touched on the MAS Kargo issue but there was nothing much into it.
Turning back to Ramon, Phang has taken as a direct attack on himself in the former absolving Abdul Gani.

"I had called on Abdul Gani to clear the air over public allegations of his relationship with Shahidan and the Haj pilgrimage. I was concerned that his silence would lead to deepening suspicions and confusion.

"Ramon can speak for himself but he has no mandate from me or the other panel members to make that statement on our behalf."That was not how I perceived the meeting. What was certain was that my esteemed colleagues who attended the meeting did not want to humiliate Abdul Gani any further. It was not our intention to humble the Top Lawyer of the country," he said.

Source : http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/152592

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