Thursday, October 22, 2009

Malaysia Boleh: Corruption Case

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA has said it will not prosecute a lawyer who featured in a sensational video where he appeared to broker judges' appointments.

The footage of lawyer V.K. Lingam, released by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2007, unleashed a furore in Malaysia and cast a shadow over the reputation of the judiciary.

But cabinet minister Nazri Abdul Aziz told parliament on Wednesday that no legal action would be taken because an official probe into the affair had failed to turn up sufficient evidence or proper testimony.

'After (the anti-corruption authorities) investigated those involved in the Lingam tape, there was no evidence to show a criminal offence was committed in relation to abuse of power in the appointment of judges,' he said. 'Therefore the attorney-general's chambers decided there was no further action required.'

At a 2008 Royal Commission into the video, Mr Lingam said he was too drunk to remember the telephone conversation in which he appeared to discuss judicial appointments and also denied he had ever tried to influence the selection of judges.

In the phone call Mr Lingam purportedly assured Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, who was then a judge, that he would push him for a top position, with the help of a prominent businessman and a politician. Ahmad Fairuz went on to be appointed to the nation's number-two post and was quickly elevated to the top position of chief justice. He completed his term and stood down in 2007. -- AFP

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