KUALA LUMPUR: There will be absolutely no deals for fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, but the country’s top cop personally guarantees his safety.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said Low, better known as Jho Low, could also expect nothing short of a fair chance to defend himself.
Low, whose whereabouts remain unknown, has been charged in absentia in Malaysia and in the United States with receiving more than US$1 billion (RM4.2 billion) from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in 2009 and 2011, and with money laundering.
Low has consistently denied any wrongdoing through his spokesmen.
Hamid was also asked if he would be willing to hear Low out, as the central character in the investigations had, in the past, said he was willing to “assist” in probes into 1MDB.
“Every accused man has the right to be heard. If they want to talk, they can.
“I am willing to listen but in Jho Low’s case, why must he hide if he is not guilty? Why not come out?
“How can you talk when you are in hiding? When you’re talking through your lawyers, this tells me that you’re just taking potshots.
“If he is innocent, come back. I can guarantee his personal safety. He can put aside all this rubbish talk about possible torture (while in police custody). He will be protected by the law.
“I will personally guarantee it and I will ensure his safety. The same applies to the rest (wanted suspects on the run).”
Asked if he had been in talks with the government of the country Low was in, Hamid said it was suffice to say that “something is being worked out”.
“Trust us that we will see this matter to its conclusion.”
On his involvement in the 1MDB probe before he was removed from the force in 2015, Hamid said as an intelligence outfit, the Special Branch had, for a while then, been receiving information suggesting that something was brewing and established some basis to allegations of “acts of embezzlement” and the “commission of a crime”.
“We also detected efforts to keep this away from the public eye.
“When the voices grew stronger, we advised the government to come out with a denial if it was not true and explain what was going on.
“I discussed this with the then Special Branch director and he briefed the government on our concerns, but for whatever reason, it was not taken seriously.”
In a sit-down with NST Insight: Conversations, Hamid flipped through the open letter he penned after he was removed from the police force by his then boss, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
He was directed to report to a department that had not yet been established under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The letter made its rounds again following his appointment as IGP on May 3.
“Yes, I penned it. This very respectable lady when I was at the PMO helped me type out the letter as I dictated it.
“She has since passed away… I only found out about it later as she had hidden from everyone that she had cancer. She was ticked off for helping me to type it out.”
Asked what he meant when he told the then Special Branch chief Tan Sri Mohd Fuzi Harun in the letter, “I know what you did last summer”, Hamid said he would only commit to wishing him a peaceful retirement.
He was visibly upset when he touched on how his former superior, then Special Branch chief Datuk Seri Akil Bulat, was given the sack just seven days before his contract expired.
“It was done without any respect … it was a crude and rude letter.
“He (Akil) was away, then. I was removed as his deputy, but I wouldn’t have wanted to serve under a new boss anyway.
“I met (then IGP) Khalid and offered myself to be posted elsewhere, a lateral transfer with no promotion to the Integrity and Standards Compliance Department so that I could focus on advising and motivating the men and give talks on integrity. I meant well.
“But the (then) IGP felt it was not right to have me there… that it was not going to be ‘helpful’ putting me there.
“As the IGP, Khalid was the one who should determine where I should be posted. But he allowed politicians to decide. That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. I was angry because it was very unprofessional.”
Hamid, in the same breath, vowed to never allow history to repeat itself.
“I will never stand for anything like that.
“’I respect the government. Of course, I work for the government, but when you commit acts that are politically motivated… that is wrong. If I am ever forced to do that, I will resign.
“Because I am a policeman.”
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