09 December 2011

Solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden is resigning come Jan 1 or Feb 1...

NONECome Monday and Tuesday, which have been fixed for submission in the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial, solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden is expected to make his final public appearance, representing the public prosecutor and the Attorney General Chambers (AGC).

It is learnt that, Yusof, 56, had tendered his resignation from the AGC for the third time, and it has been finally accepted.

Sources indicated that the Public Services Department has been duly informed.

Yusof (right) is the third most senior person in the AGC, after attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and solicitor general Idrus Harun.

His last day of duty is expected to be either on Jan 1 or Feb 1, regardless of the outcome of the Anwar sodomy trial.

Although Jan 1 or Feb 1 is stipulated as his last day, sources told Malaysiakini that he had accumulated a lot of leave and he only goes to office occasionally.

"Whatever the outcome of the sodomy trial, Yusof is not expected to come back to lead the prosecution team," the source said.

"He will lead the prosecution for the last time in the submission of this sodomy trial on Monday and Tuesday, where it is expected to be his last public appearance," the source added.

Yusof is highly respected both within the AGC and outside as he commands the respect of lawyers, and is known to be a fair person.

It is learnt that he submitted his application for optional retirement twice; in 2007 when he was 52 and again in 2009.

On both occasions his application was rejected, the last believed to be after an intervention from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, wanting Yusof to lead the prosecution team in the sodomy trial.

Najib was said to have created the solicitor-general II post, which was non-existent, to accommodate Yusof in the AGC.

Yusof sidelined in AG's chambers

In 2007, when his first application to retire was rejected, he had submitted it along with his good friend and former Selangor prosecution head, Salehuddin Saidin.

Salehuddin was initially slated to lead the prosecution team in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial, as he headed the Selangor legal division.

However, Salehuddin was replaced by Abdul Gani's man, Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, currently the prosecution head of the AGC following concerns Salehuddin knew the trial judge, Mohd Zaki Yasin. Since then Salehuddin had left the chambers and went into private practice.

lingam tape panel meeting 031007 abdul gani patailDespite remaining in the AGC, it is learnt that Yusof and his men continued to be sidelined by Abdul Gani (right), with many opting to retire early to go into private practice.

Sources revealed that Yusof's people had been sidelined or skipped from promotion and those promoted to senior posts in the AGC are said to be close to Abdul Gani, and who have not gained much experience in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.

“He does not want to be in the judiciary as he had been there before being a magistrate and a Sessions Court judge,” said another source, who wants to remain anonymous.

“Remaining in the AGC has not been good for Yusof as he is continued to be sidelined and being seen virtually powerless to dictate anything, including policy,” added the source.

Following the rejection of the second early retirement exercise, Yusof was specifically roped in to handle the Anwar sodomy case, as he is seen as one of the few clean senior DPPs left in the AGC, and being a person who posses a sound legal background to argue cases at the senior level.

Of course, Yusof has met a wilful opponent in senior criminal lawyer Karpal Singh, who leads Anwar's defence team.

One has to remember that Abdul Gani was sidelined not to have any role in Anwar's sodomy case following the attorney-general's alleged involvement and subsequent investigation that he along with former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan, had planted evidence in the 1998 trial.

Going into private practice?

This follows revelations and an in-depth investigation launched by the police following Anwar's black-eye incident.

Former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Mat Zain Ibrahim headed the investigations into the black-eye incident, where Anwar's blood sample was allegedly stolen with the former top cop pointing to Musa and Abdul Gani's alleged involvement in the many letters he wrote.

However, a three-member panel cleared Musa and Abdul Gani of any wrongdoing in the black-eye matter.

Sources indicated that Yusof may relax for several months following his retirement and eventually enter private practice, like his friend Salehuddin.

Yusof, who headed the prosecution division unit from 2002 to 2008, is considered as someone who has a good background and is respected in the legal fraternity for his knowledge, especially in criminal laws.

In Anwar's case, he leads the prosecution in making submissions at the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.

“His loss would be surely felt, but I think he will follow his colleagues to enter private practice,” the source added.

Peguamcara 2 Mohd.Yusof Zainal Abidin letak jawatan



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