A top official of Malaysia’s attorney general’s office appears to have attempted to bully the family of a murdered public prosecutor investigating corruption involving Prime Minister Najib Razak to agree to an immediate cremation rather than waiting for a second autopsy, then offered a “golden handshake” to them, according to text messages by AG’s office personnel.
However, against the wishes of most of the family or their knowledge, the body of Kevin Morais was whisked away and burned without an independent post-mortem from the hospital by an estranged brother who described himself in a text to an attorney general’s office official as a “hardcore gangster.”
Morais was murdered on Sept 4 in spectacular fashion after his car was rammed and he was dragged out as he drove to work. He was kidnapped after the collision and ended up in a cement-filled oil drum that had been dumped in a river. His burned car was found elsewhere in a field with the identification numbers erased. Purely by chance, a CCTV camera along his route picked up the kidnapping and seven men including an army major were arrested for the crime. The 55-year-old Morais had been seconded from the Ministry of Justice to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Scandal won’t go away
For months, Malaysian law enforcement has been wracked with attempts on the part of the Najib government to quell investigations into hundreds of millions of dollars that ended up in the prime minister’s personal account, then disappeared again, and by massive mismanagement of the troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd. state-backed investment firm. Najib has sacked a string of top officials including his own deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, and Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail. Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officials have been subjected to what has been called a scorched-earth campaign to discover who, if any of them, has been leaking information on the case.
The attorney general, Mohamad Apandi Ali, a former United Malays National Organization state treasurer before being elevated to public prosecutor and then the judicial bench, was hurriedly drafted to replace the long-serving Abdul Gani Patail in August just as Gani Patail reportedly was about to file charges against Najib for corruption. Apandi immediately denied that Kevin Morais was working on the case when he was abducted and murdered.
CCTV footage of Anthony Kevin Morais’ abduction. Source: Sarawak Report
Brother of dead man charges he was probing PM’s finances
But Morais’s brother, Charles Suresh Morais, an Atlanta, George-based hotelier read a statutory declaration to a Kuala Lumpur press conference on Nov. 25 that Kevin Morais had indeed been working on the Najib case and that the charge sheet that was never made public after Gani Patail was fired bore Kevin Morais’s initials. The charge sheet was obtained surreptitiously by the investigative blog Sarawak report and made public. Charles Morais also said his brother had repeatedly voiced concerns about the level of corruption he was investigating, becoming so worried about his own security that he asked that the two speak in a north Indian dialect instead of Malay or English.
After Charles Morais’s press conference, the office again denied that Kevin Morais had anything to do with the investigation. The office insisted that he was killed over a fraud case brought against the army major. However, a series of texts made available to Asia Sentinel and Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown, who broke the story, have once again cast doubt on the attorney general’s version of events. The texts, by Mabel Muttiah, a newly-elevated senior assistant to Apandi, bombarded the Morais family with demands that they cremate the murdered prosecutor instead of waiting for a second autopsy.
When those attempts failed, according to the texts, Muttiah sought against the wishes of the family to have the cadaver removed from the hospital morgue where it had been taken – texting another brother, David, on Nov. 16, that instead Richard Morais – the “hardcore gangster” brother – had “asked me to find out from you if you would join him [tomorrow] in getting the remains of Kev fr the mortuary. Thank you.”