6 Apr 2015

Utusan apologises to Rosli regarding 'Copgate

After eight years', Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia today apologised in open court for defaming lawyer Rosli Dahlan over what is now known as the 'Copgate’ affair.

However, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission who are named as defendants in the RM50 million suit, along with the government have refused to apologise and have opted for the matter to go to trial. They are also accused of assault and wrongful detention.

Utusan’s open apology was read out by its legal advisor Shirad Anuar.

With this, Rosli's suit against Utusan is settled on undisclosed terms. The apology read today is besides the apology printed by the Malay daily on April 15, 2008 following Rosli's arrest by the MACC's predecessor the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) at his office a year earlier.

In their apology before Justice Su Geok Yiam, Utusanadmitted its news report which said that Rosli (left) had hidden the assets of a senior police officer (former Commercial Crimes Department director, Ramli Yusuf) and that he had not cooperated with the MACC in their investigations, was not true.

“Our said article has given a totally wrong depiction of Rosli as a lawyer who had acted in a manner contrary to the proper behaviour and ethics of an advocate and solicitor.
“We (Utusan) acknowledge and express our deepest regrets that the said article was written and published in a sensational manner to generate publicity which exceeded the parameters of ethical journalism surrounding the investigation of Ramli who at that time was CCID director.”

Regrets damage caused to Rosli

Shirad further read that the daily acknowledges that Rosli had been conclusively been discharged and acquitted by the court from all charges made against him by the ACA and hereby unconditionally and unreservedly apologise to Rosli over the untruthful article and regret the damage caused to him.

Lawyer Mohana Kumar appeared for Utusan while lawyers Chethan Jethwani and Parveen Kaur Cheema appeared for Rosli.

Senior lawyer Cecil Abraham, Rishvant Singh and senior federal counsel Kamal Azira Hassan and Azizan Md Arshad appeared for the MACC.

Previously, it was reported that The Star had apologised to Rosli while another English daily the New Straits Times was ordered to pay RM150,000 by another High Court after the paper did not offer an apology.

In Rosli’s defamation suit against NST and the MACC, the graft body was also ordered to pay a separate amount of RM150,000 for libel.

Malicious prosecution

Besides this case,  Rosli had also filed a RM47 million suit against Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail, several officers in the AG Chambers, and the MACC for malicious prosecution.

It was reported on Wednesday the Court of Appeal had dismissedGani's appeal to strike out Rosli's suit.

Rosli was arrested a day before the eve of Hari Raya in 2007 at his law firm, for not abiding by the MACC’s request to declare his assets, but the notice served was said to not be clear.

Following that, the lawyer sought clarification from the MACC and despite this he was arrested, handcuffed in his office and spent the night in the lock-up, before being produced at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur to be charged.

However, the Sessions Court acquitted Rosli without his defence called and the decision stood until the case was brought to the High Court on appeal.

Today’s matter sees Rosli testifying as a witness in the suit against the MACC.

It is understood that Ramli and former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Corruption Prevention and Consultation Panel member Robert Phang are slated to be among the witness.

Besides this, MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamad and several witnesses from the MACC are slated to testify for the defendants.

Phang told Malaysiakini that with Utusan agreeing to apologise, the MACC should do so as well, as going on with the matter is a waste of time and public funds.

Source : http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/294390

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