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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rosli Dahlan’s RM50 Million Trial: A Classic Case of Justice Denied

Preamble: Amidst the excitement and din of UMNO politics, which is receiving a lot of media attention, it is easy for us to forget the struggle of lawyer Rosli Dahlan (right) for honour, justice and truth. Since 2007, when he was first handcuffed in his office and charged on the eve of Aidil Fitri, my good friend Rosli has been taking on the establishment and its mainstream media to clear his name and restore his reputation.

With this in mind, I am posting my latest piece on his Rm50 million trial so that this saga will not escape our attention. As usual, the media has distorted his story.–Din Merican

November 16 2012 was a glorious day for Dato Ramli Yusuff as Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) gave him a full honour farewell complete with a General’s salute by a mounted Guard of Honour and a retreat in a PDRM’s ceremonial open top Land Rover in full regalia in the best traditions of the Police Force. The Government seems to have found peace with Dato Ramli.
Thus, I was surprised when I found out that his lawyer and good friend, Rosli Dahlan, is still fighting the MACC and the Government. That can only mean that Rosli did not settle with the government. That can only mean that Rosli has been left out in the cold. I recalled that until now Dato Ramli has yet to file any law suit against the government, the A-G Gani Patail or even against Musa Hassan whom Ramli had repeatedly accused of conspiring to cause his downfall.
 In the meantime, I noted with amusement that Musa Hassan now appears to have joined the Opposition bandwagon by attacking PDRM and current IGP Ismail Omar for rigging the country’s crime statistics. And today, Musa Hassan accused Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein of interfering with the Police Force. I don’t know what Musa is up to but he is certainly living up to his name Musa the Musang, or Musa the cunning fox.
 So, I got a bit confused when I read reports from the mainstream newspapers that Rosli had lost his case when his claim was struck out like this report from The Star:

Struck out – claim against bank manager

And then another newspaper reported that Rosli had withdrawn his RM50 million suit:

Lawyer withdraws RM50m suit

Upon reading them more closely, I realised that the titles of all the articles in the mainstream newspapers have been given a journalistic slant to mislead the public. That’s what happens when national newspapers become merely propaganda tools of the powers that be.
From friends in Bank Negara, I was told that Rosli released the Bank Negara officer, whom he thought had done an illegal financial search on him. Apparently, the real culprit who did the search on Rosli was DPP Zulkifli Ahmad who has now admitted this in his witness statement. Just to confirm that what I heard was correct, I called Rosli early this morning before his court case started.
Rosli could not talk for long. When I asked him jestingly if he was given a good settlement by Bank Negara, Rosli replied; “It’s not about the money Din. I finally met Abdul Rahman, the BNM Officer. He told me he was my junior in IIU. He told me he was not involved. I asked him to look directly into my eyes and repeat those words in the name of God. He said Lillah I was not involved”.
Rosli mumbled something inaudible and then said-“When an educated man who is my junior in university swears his innocence in the name of God, what do you expect me to do?” Then Rosli said he had to go.
That left me wondering. Is Rosli for real? Was it that easy for him to trust people who had wronged him? Many questions played in my mind. But I decided to keep my peace. It seems to me Rosli is more distressed with this civil trial than during his criminal trial. During the criminal trial where I was present most times, I noted Rosli’s strong quiet character. But this time he seemed unsettled.
 I recall meeting him at a book launch at the Royal Selangor Club last week where Rafizi Ramli officiated. Rosli appeared a bit dejected. I asked him why and he said that he was having a tough time preparing for his civil trial. He whispered that witnesses were afraid to appear at his trial. Some had their personal reasons, some did not want to get entangled with the authorities. I felt sorry for him and wanted to cheer him by joking that perhaps he should promise these witnesses  a portion of the  RM50 million.
Rosli gave me a dry smile and then said that he had never felt so alone and expressed disappointment in some friends. He said he asked his wife to write her account of the events of  2007. Apparently his wife’s account was so sad that it made Rosli feel very guilty for the things that had happened as if he failed to protect his family and dishonoured his father’s name. I gave him a pat on the back and asked him to cheer up.
Then earlier today I read a Malaysiakini report which states that A-G Gani Patail is blocking Rosli’s right to give evidence in court (see Malaysiakini Reports below). I have always thought that the very purpose why judicial hearings are in open court is to allow the public to observe and hear for themselves how justice is being dispensed. How Judges must be seen impartial. How justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. That can only happen if a victim like Rosli is allowed to have his day in court; to tell his story and air his grievance; to confront his accusers and make them answer why they did all that to him.
I recall that the very basic Rule of Natural Justice is The Right To Be Heard. How can there be justice if the AG can block Rosli from being heard. Something is wrong with our justice system if that can happen. It doesn’t require a doctor to tell a sick person that he is sick. It doesn’t need a judge to be told that justice is sick if the A-G Gani Patail can do that.
I am told that the Judge is a lady, Justice Hue Siew Kheng.  To Her Ladyship I ask – please be fair like the blind folded Lady of Justice. Have no regard for the A-G, have only regard for what is right and wrong. A man who has been wronged who comes to seek justice from the court must not be turned away. Rosli must not be turned away and dismissed so dismally.
I did not intend to attend Rosli’s civil trial because I thought it is not as serious as the fate awaiting him in the criminal trial. I thought it is just about claiming RM50 million. But now I realise that I may be wrong. I now realise that Rosli is fighting for honour, truth and justice so that the thing that befell him befalls no one.
I realise that in his own small way, he is trying to correct the system. If so, Rosli deserves our support once again. He is not asking for monetary contribution. He is only asking for neutrality in our justice system so that the lay man who comes before the courts are given their fair hearing. He is asking that we observe the Justices who are supposed to dispense justice. So, Malaysians, I say to you, we have to resurrect the Court of Public Opinion!
November 28, 2012

A-GC moves to silence Rosli on roles of Gani, Musa

by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com
In a bid to silence lawyer Rosli Dahlan, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (A-GC) today objected to him giving evidence on matters pertaining to the ‘Copgate affair’ involving attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan.
Rosli applied to Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Hue Siew Kheng, in chambers, to allow him to read his witness statement in open court, which the judge allowed.
However, Rosli’s lawyer Chethan Jethwani said, senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, representing the officers from the (then) Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and the government, objected to certain portions of Rosli’s testimony.
Following this, Justice Hue fixed Dec 28 to hear submissions on the matter and ordered Azizan to file a formal application to expunge those portions before the application is heard on that day. The judge also fixed Jan 25 for to hear Rosli’s testimony.
Azizan argued that third parties were named in the statement of the witness, which was why the AG’s Chambers was objecting.
It is learnt that the objection arose because Rosli’s testimony would touch on the role of Musa and Gani (right) in Rosli’s charge of not complying with the ACA’s procedures to declare his assets, before the sessions court in 2007, on which he wasacquitted without his defence called.
Rosli, 51, had named several officers in the ACA, the precursor to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, including present Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed and Deputy Head of Prosecution Anthony Kevin Morais, as defendants in his RM50 million defamation suit.
He had also named UMNO-owned daily Utusan Malaysia and its senior editor Mohd Zaini Hassan.
The lawyer, who had represented former Commercial Crime Investigations Department director Ramli Yusuff, in is seeking damages over defamatory statements made, the injury to his reputation, assault and false imprisonment.
Ramli, who was later charged by the ACA, was also acquitted of the five charges against him and the decision was further upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Yesterday, Justice Hue had called on the parties to try and settle the case and to take into account the decisions made by the other courts.
‘Arrest of Goh an act of disloyalty’
Rosli in his writ described the acrimonious relationship between Ramli and Musa and how the IGP had used the ACA and the A-G’s Chambers to implicate him and Ramli following the arrest of an underworld kingpin, Goh Cheng Poh or ‘Tengku Goh’.
Rosli said he acted for Ramli and the then Deputy Home Minister Johari Baharom against Goh’s habeas corpus application in 2007, after the AG’s Chambers refused to draw up their affidavits.
NONEHe said Musa (left) saw the arrest of Goh as disloyalty on the part of Ramli, resulting in the IGP initiating further ACA investigations against Ramli. This resulted in a strained relationship between Musa and Ramli and Johari.
Rosli further claimed that he earned the wrath of Musa and the attorney-general when he drew up the affidavits for Ramli and Johari, and this led to the ACA investigations against him and his subsequent arrest.
He said an ACA officer kicked his leg, twisted his arms and handcuffed him tightly, resulting in lacerations and swelling of his wrists.
He gave his statement at the ACA headquarters, but was held overnight and taken to court and charged on the eve of Hari Raya, on October 27, 2007. These were malicious actions out to tarnish his image, he added in his writ.
November 27, 2012

Rosli’s suit: Court moots speedy settlement

by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com
A Kuala Lumpur High Court judge has advised parties involved in the RM50 million suit from lawyer Rosli Dahlan to continue with the settlement process.
ramli yusuff and court judiciary police 011107This follows Rosli, who had acted for former Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Ramli Yusuff, in what is described as the “Copgate affair”, has today agreed to withdraw his claim against Bank Negara Financial Intelligence Unit manager Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar.
Justice Hue Siew Kheng said this in open court on being informed by Rosli’s counsel Chithan Jethwani that his client has agreed to withdraw the claim against Abdul Rahman after reading the Bank Negara officer’s witness statement.
“After Rosli read the witness statement from a prosecuting officer Dzulkifli Ahmad (who was then attached to the Anti-Corruption Agency), that it was he who did the Bank Negara search and not the 16th defendant (Abdul Rahman),” said Chithan.
Rosli agreed to withdraw its action against the Bank Negara officer following a settlement discussion yesterday where terms are said to be confidential.
This was affirmed by Bank Negara counsel Tan Hock Chuan, who said there should be no orders made as to costs.
It was learnt that previously Dzulkifli never admitted to conducting the search and it was upon seeing the former ACA’s witness statement where this was admitted that the lawyer decided to stop the action against Bank Negara.
Last November (2011), Kuala Lumpur High Court judge John Louis O’Hara had struck out Abdul Rahman as one of the defendants in the RM50 million lawsuit, in which Rosli had claimed the national bank had conducted an unlawful search of his assets, but the Bank Negara officer was later reinstated in the suit by the Court of Appeal in August.
Claims against other defendants still ongoing
Meanwhile, Rosli’s ongoing suit against Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia daily publisher Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd, its senior editor Mohd Zaini Hassan and senior officers of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) including its chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed (then deputy director-general), its deputy head of prosecution Anthony Kevin Morais and nine MACC officers, as well as the government, will resume tomorrow.
azlanChithan had informed the court today that the other parties sought an adjournment to the day’s hearing as they wanted to seek further instructions on the witnesses testifying in the trial, following the filing of their witness statements.
Justice Hue then recorded the withdrawal of the claim against the Bank Negara officer, and advised all parties to look into the notes of proceedings and earlier decisions made related to the matter.
She said this when all parties met earlier in her chambers, where Justice Hue was learnt to have said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (A-GC) should not deny the facts which already exist in the previous criminal judgments against Rosli and Ramli, and notes of proceeding in cases related to the matter.
“The court advises parties to continue to look into the process of settlement,” she said.
Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad represented the MACC officers and the government, while Mohana Kumar appeared for Utusan Melayu.
Utusan Malaysia apologised over its reports on Rosli’s arrest where it described him as being a Singapore lawyer, although he is a Malaysian citizen.
Rosli, a partner in the law firm Lee Hishammuddin Allen and Gledhill, had filed the claimin 2009 seeking defamatory damages along with tort of conspiracy and injury claims against the defendants.
Insights on former IGP expected
The case is expected to provide some explosive insights into allegations over how the MACC and the AG-C were used to protect former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Musa Hassan after Ramli had taken action on underworld figure Goh Cheng Poh and placed him under restricted residence.
Rosli was initially charged five years ago with allegedly not complying with the then Anti-Corruption Agency’s (ACA) procedures to declare his assets, but was acquitted by the Sessions Court, and on August 2, prosecution for the MACC withdrew their appealagainst his acquittal.
In his claim, Rosli described the acrimonious relationship between Ramli and Musa (above) and how the IGP had used the MACC, and the AG-C to implicate him and Ramli following Goh’s arrest.
Rosli claimed he had acted for Ramli and the then Deputy Home Minister Johari Baharom against Goh’s habeas corpus application in 2007 after the AGC refused to draft them.
However, Musa saw Goh’s arrest as disloyalty on the part of Ramli, resulting in the IGP further initiating ACA investigations on him, causing strained relations between Musa, Ramli and Johari.
Rosli further alleged he earned the wrath of Musa and the Attorney-General when he drew up affidavits for Ramli and Johari, which led to the MACC investigations against him and his subsequent arrest where an anti-graft officer kicked his leg, twisted his arms and handcuffed him tightly, causing lacerations and swelling on his wrist.
He was brought to court and charge on Hari Raya’s eve in 2007, which he claimed were malicious actions out to tarnish his image.
Rosli was present in court today with his wife and children, along with former MACC advisory panel member Robert Phang, who is slated to be his witness.
Meanwhile on Nov 16, police held a retirement do for Ramli, who had been cleared of all charges of non-disclosure of his assets and was reinstated into the force.
During the ceremony, Ramli hit out at Musa and the Attorney-General when giving his retirement speech.

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