June 18, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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Najib files appeal against High Court refusal to disqualify Sri Ram


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has filed an appeal against the High Court decision that dismissed his bid to remove former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in his ongoing trial for alleged tampering of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters that the notice of appeal has been filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

“The application was dismissed by the High Court judge yesterday. The reason why we thought we should appeal is that we have got an overwhelming reason thinking that the disqualification of Sri Ram was almost inevitable.

“One of the issues was regarding the disclosure made by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in his affidavit regarding to a conversation between Sri Ram and himself, which was not rebutted but confirmed by the latter.


“If that is the case, there will be a misconduct on the part of the prosecutors,” he said after the 1MDB trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court here, today.

In his affidavit, Mohamed Apandi claimed that there was a communication between him and Sri Ram where the latter asked Mohamed Apandi to consider charging Najib in court. 

Muhammad Shafee said they are also appealing due to the fact that Sri Ram’s involvement in the 1MDB-related case was not merely as a prosecutor but as an investigator, as alleged in former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ memoir, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”.

“This was not allowed. The prosecution said they were not involved in the investigation but in Tan Sri Tommy’s book, he claimed that he specifically requested a deputy public prosecutor to be involved in the investigation.

“So on both reasons, we feel that we have very strong reasons to appeal,” said the lawyer.

Yesterday, judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan rejected Najib’s application to recuse Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in the former premier’s trials related to 1MDB audit report.

Justice Mohamed Zaini in his brief grounds said the court found Najib’s allegation that Sri Ram had been involved in the investigation against him unmeritorious.

The judge added that Najib had, among others, relied on the communications that took place between Mohamed Apandi Ali and Sri Ram as proof of the latter’s biases towards him and the applicant’s apprehension of Sri Ram’s biases was without basis and misplaced.

The 1MDB’s audit report trial will resume on Feb 22.

Najib, 67, and former 1MDB chief executive officer, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, 45, are on trial over 1MDB audit tampering charges.

The Pekan MP was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action being taken against him, while Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to action.