When contacted, Rosli confirmed that the Malay-language daily had tendered the apology to settle the civil suit where he was claiming RM48 million in damages.
In a copy of the apology sighted by Malay Mail Online, Utusan said it had previously published a public apology on April 15, 2008 for “untrue” allegations made against the senior lawyer.
“We hereby again, upon request and with the consent and express agreement of lawyer Rosli Dahlan, repeat the contents of the said Public Apology referred to above and hereby again unconditionally and unreservedly apologise to lawyer Rosli Dahlan for our said untruthful article and we regret the damage that we have caused to him.
“We further acknowledge that lawyer Rosli Dahlan has been conclusively discharged and acquitted by the court from all charges made against him by the ACA which is now known as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC),” the company said in the apology that was read out before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Su Geok Yiam.
In the same apology, Utusan listed down the untrue allegations it had made in its October 12, 2007 report and apologised for in 2008, including claims that Rosli is a Singaporean lawyer who had breached the country’s laws by refusing to make an asset declaration — when Rosli is actually a Malaysian lawyer who had declared his assets.
The paper also admitted to having wrongly accused Rosli of acting deceptively to frustrate the investigations of MACC’s predecessor Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) despite his full cooperation with the anti-graft agency.
Utusan also said it had expressed its “deepest regrets” in its previously published apology for writing the 2007 report in a “sensational manner to generate publicity which exceeded the parametres of ethical journalism” on the investigation of then Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Ramli Yusuff, then Rosli’s client.
It is understood that the apology today was read out by Utusan’s legal representative Shirad Anwar in his role as the company’s senior legal manager and company secretary.
The other terms of the settlement, which were agreed upon today in the judge’s chambers just before hearing was due to start, are confidential.
The first four defendants — namely Utusan’s publisher Utusan (Melayu) Malaysia Bhd and its three employees — have now settled its suit with Rosli.
The hearing against the fifth to 17th defendants — including the MACC chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, MACC prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais and the government — will go on this afternoon.
Rosli confirmed that the remaining defendants’ six-man legal team led by private lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham had not offered to settle the civil suit.
Rosli is represented by lawyers Chetan Jethwani and Pravinder Kaur Cheema.
In this civil suit, Rosli is suing for among other things, defamation, conspiracy to injure, wrongful arrest, wrongful detention and assault.
In October 2007, the ACA had arrested and charged Rosli with allegedly failing to declare his assets.
Rosli was then implicated of allegedly holding RM27 million worth of assets for Ramli, who was later charged with alleged corruption. Both men have been acquitted of all charges against them.