©The Malaysian Insider (Used by permission)
by V. ANBALAGAN
Less than three months after retiring from the judicial and legal service, former attorney–general (A–G) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail is set to practise law upon admission to the Malaysian Bar.
A source said Gani had filed a petition for admission to the Bar in the High Court earlier this month to begin chambering under lawyer Ragunath Kesavan, a former Malaysian Bar president.
Gani had started his chambering this week.
The source said that Gani, who was in the service for 35 years, could have written to the present A–G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, for exemption from doing his pupillage before being called to the Bar, but did not do so.
"Under the Legal Profession Act (LPA) , the A–G can issue a certificate of exemption to a former member who had been at least a year in the service (judicial and legal service)," law lecturer Surdev Singh said.
The source said that Gani was expected to apply for exemption from the usual nine–month chambering.
"Under the LPA, the Bar has the discretion to give Gani the exemption before he is admitted to the Bar," Surdev added.
The usual practice for a fresh law graduate is to go through the nine–month pupillage under a senior lawyer who has been in practice for at least seven years.
Ragunath confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that Gani was chambering under him. He, however, declined further comment.
The Malaysian Insider understands that Gani, who hails from Lahad Datu, Sabah intends to start his own law firm.
Gani, who had served as A–G for 13 years from 2003, was removed abruptly from office on July 27 when he was part of the multi–agency special task force investigating 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) channelled into the private accounts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He remained in service until 60, the mandatory retirement age.
Former Special Branch deputy director Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador had in October said in an open letter to the government that Gani should come out and clarify the issues surrounding 1MDB, as the former A–G appeared to have gone “silent” after his removal from office.
The first person from a local university to hold the prestigious position, Gani suffers from a kidney ailment and undergoes dialysis three times a week.
Gani’s career began on April 15, 1980 with his appointment as a deputy public prosecutor in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, his home state.
In 1985, he was appointed as senior federal counsel for Sabah and went on to become head of the prosecution in the A–G's Chambers in 1994.
He was also head of the Advisory and International Division and the Commissioner of Law Revision before a second stint as head of the prosecution in 2000 until his appointment as A–G.
Among the highlights in Gani's career as prosecutor was securing the conviction for corruption against former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan in 1993.
He also prosecuted former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo for corruption. Khir's conviction was upheld by the Federal Court on September last year.
Gani was also involved in the prosecution of former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy in 2008 as well as two former police commandos for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.
The Federal Court early this year confirmed the convictions of Anwar and the policemen, amid controversies that led to questions about Gani’s impartiality.
As lead prosecutor in the first Anwar sodomy case in 1998, Gani was implicated for fabricating evidence in the “black eye incident” after his arrest on September 21.
Anwar was acquitted of the sexual misconduct charge by the Federal Court in 2004.
Gani received brickbats in late 2013 when former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was acquitted of cheating the Cabinet for failure to disclose transactions related to the land purchase for Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.
He was also criticised for dropping charges last year against another transport minister, Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, for three counts of cheating former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in relation to the PKFZ development works.
Other closely followed cases that the prosecution lost, under Gani, included the late tycoon Tan Sri Eric Chia’s acquittal for misappropriating RM76.4 million and the acquittal of former land and cooperative development minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam for corruption and cheating involving shares belonging to the Sabah Land Development Board. – January 1, 2016.