Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fate of lawyers linked with video to be known by tomorrow


By VANES DEVINDRAN

KUCHING: Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) will reveal its stand and the next course of action in regard to the fate of two prominent lawyers who were said to be involved in corruption over land deals in Sarawak within the next 48 hours.

The association yesterday convened an impromptu video conferencing with its counterparts here, in Miri, Bintulu and Sibu to discuss the matter following the circulation of a YouTube video featuring an interview by an environmental group, Global Witness.

The video, said to have been captured, under a covert operation, featured a Caucasian man posing as an investor to buy land in the state from Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s cousins which subsequently revealed the transaction procedures.

The video also featured the two lawyers elaborating on the transaction process.

The video conferencing, attended by AAS’ executive committee members and chaired by its president Khairil Azmi Mohd Hasbie, was held around 3pm.

The conferencing lasted about an hour and the half, after which Khairil told pressmen that the association had made its decision on the matter.

“The decision has been made but I cannot reveal the decision yet. Once action has been taken only then we will let the press know accordingly,” he said.

When prodded further on what action would be taken, he said he could not reveal it just yet.

It is learnt that the two lawyers are likely to be referred to an Inquiry Committee that is akin to a Disciplinary Committee. Khairil, however, declined to confirm.

Later, AAS secretary Sarbjit Singh told pressmen that the association and the Inquiry Committee were two different bodies. He said the association was not empowered to take action against its members and could only refer matters to the Inquiry Committee if there was a need to.

“AAS does not control the Inquiry Committee. The (panel of judges) committee are directly appointed by the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak (Tan Sri Richard Malanjum).

“They (Inquiry Committees) are empowered under the Ordinance so they can take action ... we, on the other hand, are only empowered to refer matters to them,” he explained.

Pressed further, Sarbjit was, however, non-committal whether the two lawyers would be referred to the committee, replying: “We do not know yet”.

~ The Star

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