Friday March 22, 2013
Lawyers to face police probe
KUCHING: The Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) will refer the two Sarawak lawyers implicated in the Global Witness video entitled “Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State” to the Inquiry Committee.
AAS president Khairil Azmi Mohd Hasbie said in a press statement yesterday that the committee, which is an independent disciplinary body separate from the AAS, would conduct its inquiry into possible instances of professional misconduct under laws and regulations governing the legal profession in Sarawak.
“The Inquiry Committee is a statutory body established under the Advocates (Inquiry Committee) Rules 1988 with its panel members consisting of senior advocates appointed by the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
It is learnt that action would be taken based on the findings of the Inquiry Committee. However, for this to happen, the committee would still need to apply to the court.
The lawyers could be struck off the Roll of Advocates in a worst-case scenario.
AAS also lodged a police report yesterday in respect of the video for the purpose of enabling the police to investigate its contents and to take further action in the event there is basis to allege criminal infraction.
The executive committee members lodged the report at the Sungai Maong police station and handed over a CD that contained the footage.
These actions were decided in a meeting on Wednesday via video conferencing with the other members of AAS in Miri, Bintulu and Sibu.
The association convened a meeting to discuss the serious questions raised following the online release of the video which featured recorded conversations with the two lawyers discussing matters ranging from illegal means to circumvent the operation of Malaysian laws to allegations of corruption and kickbacks to high officials within the state administration.
The video clip, which went viral, also depicts Global Witness investigators posing as foreign investors recording snippets of their conversation with Taib’s cousins under the pretext of purchasing Sarawak land for hefty profit.
“The matter is now in the capable hands of the relevant authorities. Until investigations are concluded and more facts come to light, the AAS advises the public at large to allow the law to take its course and to refrain from speculation,” said Khairil Azmi.