After justifying his statement naming the prime minister as the person behind “Malaysian Official 1”, Minister in the Prime Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan today got a earful from Amanah’s Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, accusing him of coming up with “atrocious” explanation of the American legal process.
“Who is Rahman trying to fool and for how much longer is he frantically defending the indefensible?” asked Dzulkefly, Amanah’s strategy director.
He was responding to Rahman’s argument that Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not named in documents on 1MDB released by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) last July because the Umno president was not part of the investigation.
This followed his statement quoted by BBC saying there was no doubt that the MO1 referred to by DoJ was Najib.
But Dzulkefly brought forward a principle used in the US legal system known as “In Rem”.
“Anyone who understands the US jurisdiction would testify that ‘In Rem’ is about ‘a proceeding that takes no notice of the owner of the property (here meaning 1MDB) but determines rights in the property that are conclusive against all the world’.
“In rem only notifies those parties who have an interest in the property or assets forfeited, as to present their claims to the court, hence the named ‘Red Granite Pictures, Inc and the other defendants,” he said, referring to the company helmed by Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz, accused by DoJ of taking part in the embezzlement of billions of ringgit of funds which belonged to the state company.
Dzulkefly said as such, Najib was not named because he was thought to be not the owner of any of the assets to be forfeited.
“Surely Rahman is not intending to suggest otherwise,” he added.
He also brought Rahman’s attention to another term used by US prosecutors, “18 U.S.C.”, or Title 18 of the United States Code, the criminal and penal case of the US federal government.
“It deals with federal crimes and criminal procedure. Rahman doesn’t need reminder that if there is no wrongdoing, there would be no grounds to seize assets in the first place.
“The only issue left for Rahman to intelligently reconsider, is whether he should make a correction to his earlier statement that ‘the PM should not take responsibility for the state investment fund’s problems’,” said Dzulkefly.
He said investigations showed clearly the origins of the money which ended up in Najib’s private bank accounts.
“Forget about the grandmother story of the Saudi donor of the RM2.6b! It is an illusion. By subjecting 1MDB to these orgy of horrific plundering and global laundering for the last five years (2009-2014), while Najib was helming it and ostensibly benefiting from such transactions, has indeed plunged the nation into great disrepute,” said Dzulkefly.