PUTRAJAYA: Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram can continue to lead the prosecution team as senior deputy public prosecutor in Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial.
This follows the decision by the Federal Court seven-member bench today in dismissing the former prime minister’s appeal to remove Sri Ram from prosecuting his (Najib’s) case scheduled to start on Aug 19.
Chief Justice Datuk Seri Utama Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who led the bench held that Najib’s appeal to disqualify Sri Ram was devoid of merit.
However, she allowed Najib’s appeal for the prosecution to produce Sri Ram’s letter of appointment and instructed that a copy of the letter be filed in the court.
She said there was no material before the court to show that the letter of appointment was classified as secret under the Official Secrets Act 1972.
Other judges presiding on the bench were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah and Federal Court judges, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Datuk Rohana Yusuf, Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
The 66-year-old Pekan member of parliament was appealing against the decision of the appellate court which had upheld the High Court’s dismissal of his application to disqualify Sri Ram as senior deputy public prosecutor in the trial.
Najib is facing four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and 21 counts of money laundering involving 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion.
He is accused of committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur between 2011 and 2014. The High Court has set Aug 19 for trial of Najib’s 1MDB case.
Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib told reporters that following today’s Federal Court ruling, Sri Ram could also prosecute in Najib’s International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) case and the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit document case.
Apart from those cases, Ahmad Akram said Sri Ram could also prosecute in the corruption and money-laundering cases involving Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Najib’s former special officer, Datuk Rizal Mansor as well as the money-laundering case against Rosmah’s son, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz.
Meanwhile, Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the court that both the prosecution and defence’s appeals to postpone the 1MDB trial were fixed for hearing in the Federal Court on Aug 13.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court’s decision for Najib’s 1MDB trial for alleged corruption and money-laundering to start as scheduled on Aug 19. — Bernama