The brother of a Malaysian deputy public prosecutor whose body was found in a cement-filled oil drum that had been dumped in a river has issued a sworn declaration that the victim, Anthony Kevin Morais, was investigating corruption involving Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor when he disappeared.
Morais apparently had been strangled although that is uncertain since his body was cremated before his brother, Charles Suresh Morais, an Atlanta, Georgia businessman, could order a second autopsy. The story involves an astonishing series of twists and turns, including possible links to the 2013 murder of a prominent banker in a Kuala Lumpur temple parking lot.
Morais’s body disappeared from a Kuala Lumpur hospital mortuary despite pleas by the brother, Charles, for a second autopsy. The body was claimed and cremated over Charles’ objections by another brother, Richard, who has been in constant trouble with the law and who figured in the 2013 murder of the late Arab Malaysian Bank founder Hussain Najadi. The bank is now known as AmBank.
Car rammed, prosecutor abducted
Surveillance footage from a CCTV camera the day the 55-year-old Kevin Morais disappeared showed his car being followed and rammed by another. He was reportedly abducted after the collision and was never seen alive again. One of the seven suspects arrested after the footage identified the car in the collision led investigators to a suburb near Kuala Lumpur where Morais’s body, encased in the oil drum, had been rolled into a river.
Morais had been seconded from the Justice Ministry to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which was looking into financial irregularities involving the troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd. state-backed investment fund and other issues.
In July, Najib fired the attorney general, Abdul Gani Patail, one of a dramatic series of events that included forcing out the Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, transferring the deputy head of the police special branch intelligence division, neutralizing a special parliamentary committee seeking answers over corruption, questioning seven members of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over leaks about the case, sending the head of the MACC “on vacation” and threatening any and all critics with sedition charges.
Today, a source said, the commission investigators are terrified and believe they are in danger, followed by Special Branch police, over suspicions they had leaked details of the investigation to Clare Rewcastle Brown, the editor of the UK-based Sarawak Report, which has been deeply involved in investigating the 1MDB case and broken most of the important stories. The leaker, Charles Morais said, may have been his dead brother because anonymous emails to Rewcastle Brown were signed by “firstname.lastname@example.org.” “ Jibby,” Charles Morais said was a nickname for a Morais family friend. However, it is also a derisory nickname used by many for Najib himself.
Mohd Apandi Ali, the attorney general picked to replace Gani Patail by Najib – who is also a lawyer connected to the United Malays National Organization, which Najib heads, had previously dismissed the alleged draft charge sheet as false. The office denied Kevin Morais was working on the Najib case, which appears to have disappeared.
Although prosecutors said the mastermind was actually a military doctor who had been prosecuted by Morais recently in a graft case, Charles Morais called for the case to be revisited.
A thumb drive of evidence
In a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 26, Charles Morais, who had flown back to Malaysia from the US, said he had received a mobile USB storage device from his brother shortly before his death, dealing with investigations he was looking into, as well as an alleged draft charge sheet against the prime minister which was released by Sarawak Report and carried the initials of his brother. Morais said that when he saw the alleged draft charge sheet, he recognized his brother’s initials.
To a police demand that he turn over the USB device for investigation, Charles Morais said the device is in safekeeping in Atlanta, and that he didn’t trust the police enough to give it to them.
“Two to three months before Kevin’s demise, he told me that he was working on a case involving the prime minister and his wife,” Charles Morais said in the sworn document. “He said the prime minister was a terrible guy but that his wife was worse. He actually used the words kolata ala. These were Malayalam (Eds: a Dravidian dialect spoken in the Indian state of Kerala) and translated into English meaning ‘a person up to no good’. He told me his phone might be tapped and to be careful what I said. That is why half of our conversations were usually in Malayalam.”