Decision on Najib’s bid to challenge Gopal Sri Ram’s appointment as lead prosecutor on Wednesday

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram is pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram is pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya February 14, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The decision on the leave applications by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for a judicial review  their bid to challenge the appointment of former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in their cases, will be known on Wednesday.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, acting for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), said High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Datuk Azizah Nawawi had also fixed the same date for a decision on the AGC's preliminary objection against the judicial review application.

Shamsul said Justice Azizah set the date in her chambers after hearing submissions from the  parties involved.

Shamsul said his side had argued that there was overlap in both applications following both applicants (Najib and Muhammad Shafee)  filing similar applications at the Criminal High Court.

“Hence, we argued that the two applications should be heard at the Criminal High Court as both cited the same grounds,” he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, representing Muhammad Shafee, said the two applications were different because at the Civil Court,  the issue was whether the appointment of Sri Ram by the AGC as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor was legitimate and made on proper and reasonable grounds.

“Meanwhile, at the High Court, it involves an application for an order to recuse or disqualify Sri Ram from leading and handling the cases,” he said.

Najib and Muhammad Shafee, as the applicants, had filed  the judicial review applications separately in December last year, naming the Attorney-General/Public Prosecutor as the first respondent while the Government of Malaysia and Sri Ram the second and third respondents.

In both applications, they sought for an order to disqualify the decision by the first respondent who did not submit to them a copy of the third respondent's appointment letter (Sri Ram) to lead the prosecution team, claiming that it was a violation of Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

They also wanted a court order to revoke or recuse the appointment of Sri Ram citing that the letter of appointment was invalid, as well as sought a declaration that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment.

They also requested for an order to prohibit Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in all their cases, including on corruption, abuse of power and money laundering. — Bernama