A RECENT statement by MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki suggesting that former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin “might have more undeclared assets” has sparked controversy, with Daim’s lawyer accusing Azam of sub judice.
Lawyer Rajesh Nagarajan representing Daim, told Malaysiakini that Azam’s remarks were prejudicial to Daim’s right to a fair trial especially given that Daim’s court case is still ongoing.
“This is the latest of a continuing series of statements or comments from Azam and the MACC on Daim’s alleged holdings, despite the court charges already pending.
“Apart from direct statements, there are also endless leaks through so-called ‘sources’, MACC and otherwise.
“The statements have consistently implied or expressly stated that Daim is guilty, in clear disregard of the presumption of innocence which is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system,” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.
He also pointed out that the Sessions Court judge overseeing Daim’s case had cautioned against making statements that could affect the proceedings, indicating Azam’s disregard for judicial advice.
“Hence, it is unwarranted and smacks of sub judice. Further, the Sessions Court judge presiding over Daim’s case had advised all parties to the case not to make any statements that would affect the ongoing court proceedings.
“It is clear that Azam’s comment, which was published widely, is in serious disregard of the judge’s advice,” added Rajesh.
The lawyer called upon Azam and the MACC to respect the justice system and the legal process.
Daim was recently charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for failing to disclose his assets as requested by the MACC. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, which encompassed a range of assets including firms, land and property, vehicles, and investment accounts.
MACC has indicated that investigations into Daim’s affairs are ongoing, including allegations of corruption and money laundering. – Feb 9, 2024
Main photo credit: C4