Roskill model for an independent, successful and internationally respected MACC — Hafiz Hassan

Sunday, October 02, 2022 11:11 AM MYT

2 OCT – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be placed under the authority of Parliament to make it a truly independent institution, says DAP Chairman Lim Guan Eng said. According to Lim, who is also an MP for Bagan, the MACC is currently not independent as it falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Prime Minister.

The MP for Bagan was responding to reported remarks by MACC leader Azam Baki that MACC would not be as free to act as it is now if it had to first seek permission or receive instructions from Parliament legislators.

Azam said MACC was already an independent institution. Yet the MACC was not at liberty to release details of its investigation into Court of Appeal Judge Nazlan Ghazali, which has concluded. Azam said he could not release instructions from the Attorney General’s Office (AGC).

“We have completed our investigation. As I said before, I am not in a position to report what other instructions we have received from the AGC,” he said. Told journalists during a dialogue session on the MACC Cakna show with Northern Zone Media.

An independent MACC should have full investigative powers without having to receive instructions from the MCO. He should also have the power to prosecute, as advocated by many including Dewan Negara Chairman Dr Rais Yatim.

For an independent MACC with investigative and prosecutorial powers, the “Roskill” model can be considered. The first to use it is the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The “Roskill” model is named after Lord Roskill, who was the chairman of a committee set up in the 1980s to research ways to improve the investigation and prosecution of complex fraud cases.

Bribery and bribery are types of fraud, and the two very often go hand in hand. The report recommended that investigators and prosecutors be brought together under one roof to enjoy the benefits of both professions throughout the investigation and prosecution.

Using Roskill’s model, an anti-corruption agency (ACA) like MACC should have full investigative powers as well as powers to prosecute its cases – like the UK Serious Fraud Office SFO, created under the Criminal Justice Act 1987 and became operational in 1988. The law establishes the SFO whose main objective is to investigate and prosecute serious and complex cases of fraud, bribery and corruption.

The Director of the SFO has the power to investigate any alleged breach which he reasonably believes to involve serious or complex fraud – Article 1(3).

The Director is also empowered to (a) initiate and cause to be conducted any criminal proceedings that he deems related to such fraud; and (b) take over the conduct of such proceedings at any time – Section 1(4).

The investigation and prosecution of cases by the SFO is carried out by multidisciplinary teams made up of lawyers, investigators, forensic accountants, outside lawyers and other experts. This joint structure of investigation and prosecution teams has come to be known as the “Roskill” model. (See FSO Annual report and accounts 2021-2022. Section 1(15) and Schedule 1(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 require the annual report to be presented to Parliament)

The SFO is unique in that its officers are integrated into the investigation from the start. He investigates and pursues his cases. While the SFO is overseen by the Attorney General of the United Kingdom (AG), there is a protocol which defines the relationship between the AG and the SFO and other officers in the UK’s Officers’ Departments.

The protocol can be consulted here.

The UK SFO is now regarded internationally as a model of best practice for the type of cases investigated and prosecuted. The SFO has developed strong technical skills in forensic accounting, electronic forensics, financial investigations and prosecutions.

The model has been adopted by New Zealand (NZ) whose parliament passed the Serious Fraud Office Act in 1990 to establish its own SFO which will be the primary law enforcement agency to investigate and prosecute serious financial crimes.

The New Zealand SFO was created in response to the fallout from the 1987 stock market crash and subsequent economic recession in New Zealand, which exposed fraud on a scale never before seen in the country. The SFO also works to prevent financial crime and corruption in the public sector by providing advice and raising awareness.

According to its official website, corruption in the public sector is a high priority type of case for the SFO. The country is proud that the reputation of its corruption-free public sector provides the economy with a competitive edge, driven by business confidence, as the real and perceived cost of doing business here is lower than many of our business partners and competitors.

It’s no surprise that the island nation in the southwest Pacific Ocean has always been ranked at or near the top of Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), its low Corruption levels in the public sector contribute much to this success. Last year, New Zealand was class tied with Denmark and Finland with a score of 88/100 on the CPI.

It is therefore curious that the head of the MACC should say that it was not necessary for MACC to be given the power to prosecute.

On his 55th birthday, MACC chief says Commission should emphasize prevention, enforcement and education as high-impact priorities in its fight against corruption over the next five years. Perhaps the MACC should also examine and propose a “penambahbaikan” to the legal framework in which it operates.

As Azam himself said, a lot of things had to be looked at for MACC to be feared and become a respected ACA. One of the many things is a successful model that the SFO in the UK and New Zealand is providing by adopting the internationally respected Roskill model.

If New Zealand’s bill banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone born from 2009 inspired our own Generational End Game (GEG) bill – the Tobacco and Tobacco Control Bill 2022 – why not his SFO?

Happy 55th birthday, MACC. Semoga bertambah baik, bertambah mutu.

* This is the personal opinion of the author or organization and does not necessarily represent the views of malaysian mail.

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