KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 – Attorney-General Tommy Thomas will not handle the corruption case of former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in order to avoid a conflict of interest, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said today.
It said in a statement that the Attorney-General recused himself from all deliberations and will not be involved in any decision that the AGC will take in that pending case.
Solicitor-General Datuk Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek and Solicitor-General II Datin Paduka Zauyah Be Loth Khan said in their joint statement that much misinformation had been circulating regarding the role of the Attorney-General in taking decisions in Chambers on matters in which he was previously involved.
“Hence a clarification for the record is called for. When the Attorney General took office, he publicly declared that he accepts that the conflict of interest rule applies to him.
Having regard to the clients he acted for, and the adverse parties in such litigation when he was practising in the Bar, the Attorney-General’s position is to adhere to the two solutions that the law provides in such circumstances.
First in cases where his involvement was of a personal nature, such as counsel and friend, the Attorney General will recuse himself altogether. “The decision would then be taken by us jointly, and we may consult other senior officers in Chambers before taking a decision,” they said.
They said, secondly, in cases where the Attorney-General determined that recusal was not required, he declared his interest to the other members in the decision making team, which interest was recorded by them and he then participated as a member of the team in such matters.
Thomas had previously represented Lim in a committal proceeding filed by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali against Lim at the High Court in 2016.
Mohamed Apandi had obtained leave from the High Court to cite Lim for contempt in relation to Lim’s statement over his corruption case. However, Lim succeeded to set aside the contempt order. On June 1, 2018, Mohamed Apandi had withdrawn his appeal at the Court of Appeal, over the High Court’s ruling.
On July 30, Penang High Court fixed Sept 3 as a final date for the AGC to decide on the representation by Lim who is currently Finance Minister and businesswoman Phang Li Koon to drop the corruption charges against them, pertaining to the purchase of a bungalow below the market value.
Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who heard the case set the date after the prosecution informed the court that the AGC needed one month time to decide on representation filed by Lim, who was represented by Ramkarpal Singh, and Phang. — Bernama