Ex-Solicitor General III Hanafiah Zakaria bids to trigger investigation into Tommy Thomas over SRC case comments in memoirs

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 : A former senior Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) officer has lodged a police report, seeking an investigation on ex-attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas over the latter’s memoir My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.

Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, who was formerly Solicitor General III in the AGC, confirmed to Malay Mailtoday that he lodged a police report over contents in Thomas’s book that allegedly contained elements of criminal defamation.null

In the police report lodged last night at the Cyberjaya police station, Hanafiah cited page 248 of the book, specifically a paragraph about Thomas’ thoughts on AGC officers’ abilities in leading preparations for the trial involving misappropriation of funds at former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd, by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Hanafiah quoted Thomas as saying that he was not confident Hanafiah and another senior AGC officer were “capable of leading and supervising the incredible amount of preparation required for the SRC trial” and that both of them were allegedly “more comfortable performing administrative duties” due to their “seniority in a bureaucratic organisation like the AGC” rather than preparing for a trial.

Hanafiah said that Thomas’s claim of him being allegedly incapable of handling a high-profile matter like the SRC case was untrue and that the content in the book amounted to defamation against him. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

In his police report, Hanafiah categorised the paragraph as untrue.null

Hanafiah said the preparatory work for the SRC trial was done in 2018, when he was the head of the AGC’s appellate and trial division.

Hanafiah said Thomas instructed him then to study the investigation papers for the SRC case, with Hanafiah saying that he had set up a team of the best and most experienced deputy public prosecutors to study the evidence and prepare the charges based on the evidence that involved complex financial transactions.

Hanafiah said the issue of him leading the SRC trial’s prosecution team did not arise as his role was merely that of the most senior officer with wide prosecutorial experience in the team, and that Thomas had told the team throughout the preparation work that the latter would personally lead the prosecution.

Hanafiah acknowledged that Thomas as the attorney general should lead the prosecution team for such a big case, before saying that he and his team continued to brief Thomas about the case.

Hanafiah said he and his team members did not object when Thomas later said private lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah would be appointed to lead the SRC prosecution, adding that he and the team continued preparation work for the trial and continued briefing Thomas and Sulaiman.

Hanafiah said that he was told, however, by Thomas two or three months before the trial that he would no longer be involved with the case and that he was instructed to handle administrative duties in the AGC. At that time, Hanafiah said he was Solicitor General III.

In his police report, Hanafiah said that Thomas did not at any point in time tell him that he would be leading the SRC trial’s prosecution team or that he did not feel the former was incapable of leading the prosecution team.

Hanafiah claimed the offending section of the book to be false and damaging to his image as a deputy public prosecutor of 33 years by allegedly suggesting he was a lazy and incapable of handling the prosecution of the SRC case.

He went on to list a number of senior positions that he had held in the AGC during his 33 years of service, said he had handled various high-profile cases and was not told at any point of time that he was not capable of handling any cases. He added that he had handled two appeals at the Federal Court while being the Solicitor General III.

Hanafiah said that Thomas’s claim of him being allegedly incapable of handling a high-profile matter like the SRC case was untrue and that the content in the book amounted to defamation against him.

“With this, I ask that an investigation be conducted on Tommy Thomas under Section 499 of the Penal Code (Act 574) for criminal defamation towards me and also officers in the Attorney General’s Chambers and for disparaging the reputation and good name of the Attorney General’s Chambers,” he said in the police report.

When contacted, Sepang district police chief ACP Wan Kamarul Azran Wan Yusoff confirmed to Malay Mail this morning that a police report was received from Hanafiah. The Cyberjaya police station falls under the Sepang police district.

Thomas was attorney general from June 2018 to February 2020. His book numbering more than 500 pages was released on January 30, 2021.

Najib was in July 2020 convicted in the High Court and found guilty on all seven charges in the SRC trial. He is currently appealing the conviction and sentence against him.

BY : IDA LIM – MALAY MAIL

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