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‘AG abused power in Chithirakala case’


B Nantha Kumar, September 15, 2011, FMT


Lawyer Kengadharan says the public prosecutor has too much clout and this must be reduced to ensure justice

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer-activist today urged the government to review Article 145 of the Federal Constitution to reduce the power of the Attorney General.

R Kengadharan, commenting on a recent cheating case involving the former CEO of MIC’s education arm, said the article’s weakness was that it gave “absolute power” to the AG to proceed with or discontinue a court case.

He said such power was open to abuse and that the current AG, Abdul Gani Patail, did abuse it recently when he dropped the case against P Chithirakala Vasu, who had been charged with three counts of cheating the Maju Institute of Education. The amount involved was RM4 million.

Chithirakala was acquitted and discharged after the prosecution explained that she had returned the money she allegedly siphoned away.

Article 145 essentially provides the AG with the discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue proceedings over any offence.

“The attorney-general has wide discretion over the control and direction of all criminal prosecutions,” said Kengadharan, who is a former detainee under the Internal Security Act.

Such “absolute power” was anathema to a sound judicial system, he told FMT.

Referring to Chithirakala’s case, he said her disclosure that she had returned the money amounted to an admission that she had committed the crime. The court should therefore punish her, he added.

He said he feared that other offenders might now “employ the same tactic”.

“The only way to make things right for the future is to revisit Article 145, to ensure that the AG may not use his prosecutions power in bad faith.”

Meanwhile, a PKR leader has challenged the judiciary to provide an “acceptable explanation” for allowing Chithirakala to walk free.

S Jeevan of PKR Johor said the Sessions Court’s decision was “disgusting”.

“What we learn from the case is that if someone robs or steals and then returns the stolen goods, then he can go free,” he said.

The case had further eroded the public’s faith in the judiciary, he added.



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