Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Zulkipli case is getting curiouser and curiouser

The Zulkipli case is getting curiouser and curiouser
by Lim Kit Siang

The Zulkipli case is getting curiouser and curiouser – with the ACA head caught “red-handed” telling a lie that he had been cleared of serious corruption allegations made against him

The case of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) Director-General, Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor is getting curiouser and curiouser - panning out even to raise serious questions about the efficiency, competence and credibility of the Police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Cabinet and the Prime Minister.

Firstly, the Sun today in its front-page headline story, “Papers with AG – Police resubmit investigation file on ACA chief to Attorney-General” reported the disclosure by the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan that the Kuala Lumpur police investigated the complaints on sexual crimes and assault allegedly committed by Zulkipli against a housewife in 1997 and later submitted investigation papers to the AG’s Chambers.

However, as the AG had not reverted to the police on the next course of action, a fresh submission was made yesterday.

The New Straits Times in its front-page report “GRAFT AND SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS - SPEED UP PROBE ON ACA CHIEF – Attorney-general tells IGP” tells quite a different story.

NST quoted the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail that Zulkipli was cleared years ago of a claim of sexually abusing a woman after a thorough investigation into the sexual assault allegation in July 1997. The police investigation papers (IP) were submitted to the AG’s chambers on Oct. 24, 1997, and the AG’s Chambers found there were no grounds to prosecute Zulkipli, and the case was filed as “No Further Action” (NFA) needed.

Secondly, on the serious corruption charges against Zulkipli, the IGP was conspicuously silent but the NST reported Gani as saying that he had told Musa “to speed up the investigations into these allegations”.

Gani said the investigations would include checks against the asset declaration made by Zulkipli – “We compare these asset declarations to how one pays or finances one’s properties”, which would include “checks on the financial position of one’s family members to ascertain their contribution to the household income”.

Here, Zulkipli is caught “red-handed” telling a lie that he had been cleared of serious corruption charges made against him, as he told the NST in its report yesterday: “Zulkpli called the charges ‘baseless’ and said prior to his appointment as director-general, he had been vetted and cleared by both the ACA and police.”

Was Zulkipli cleared by the police of the serious corruption charges referred to by former top ACA official Mohamad Ramli Manan in his 4th July 2006 police report against Zulkipli as “a very corrupt senior police officer who had amassed substantial property and assets through corrupt practices”?

Clearly, the police had not cleared him or Gani could not have instructed the IGP to “speed up” the investigations. There is also the question as to why the police had sat on the investigations into the serious corruption allegations against a senior police officer for seven long years, to be instructed by the Attorney-General to re-open the seven-year-old investigations into the serious corruption allegations against Zuliipli.

What is indisputable however is that Gani’s disclosure has exposed Zulkipli as publicly telling a lie that he had been cleared by the police with regard to the serious corruption charges against him.

For this public lie alone, Zulkipli should be immediately sacked as ACA Director-General to restore badly-shattered confidence in the ACA – a decision which the unusual Cabinet meeting tomorrow should take without any more procrastination or indecisiveness. By telling a lie that he had been cleared of serious corruption charges, Zulkipli had lost all authority, credibility and legitimacy to continue as ACA head.

Had the ACA exonerated Zulkipli of the serious corruption charges to clear the way for his appointment as ACA Director-General in 2001, re-appointment in 2004 and further extension of his tenure in 2005? Who is to answer from the ACA?

When the ACA Director-General is accused of serious corruption charges, who and how is he investigated by the ACA when the agency is completely subordinate to him?

There are other questions crying out for answer:

If the police had not been aware that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had decided on NFA on the sexual charges against Zulkipli, how could the police clear Zulkpli of the sexual allegations as alleged by the ACA director-general?

How could Zulkipli be cleared for the important and sensitive appointment of ACA Director-General, and to be repeatedly extended in his term of office, when he is under such a cloud of serious corruption allegations? What has the Cabinet and the Prime Minister got to say?

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