Decision on Najib’s challenge over Sri Ram’s appointment tomorrow

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 7, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 7, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — The High Court here will decide tomorrow on Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to disqualify former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in his 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) cases.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah fixed the date after hearing submissions from lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represented Najib, and deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib.

Earlier, Muhammad Shafee had questioned the secrecy of the appointment letter which hindered the prosecution team to show it to the defence team.

“What is so secret about the document? You made the announcement of the appointment to the media,” he said.

In reply, Ahmad Akram said no one was entitled to seek the details of the appointment, which falls under Section 126 of the Evidence Act 1950.

“This issue (appointment) is strictly between the adverse party and his legal advisers which is protected by privilege and confidentiality,” he said.

Ahmad Akram said the AG might appoint a fit and proper person as deputy public prosecutor under Section 376(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Last Friday, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas told the High Court that the defence in Najib’s 1MDB cases had no legal right in law to demand the appointment letter of Gopal Sri Ram as senior prosecutor as the matter was a lawyer-client privilege.

Thomas said a litigant had no legal right under Malaysian law to have sight of the letter of appointment because that was clearly a privileged document between the client and counsel.

Last August 31, Thomas announced the appointment of Sri Ram, a retired Federal Court judge as senior deputy public prosecutor to lead the prosecution against Najib’s 1MDB and related cases.

On September 20, Najib, 66, was charged with four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and 21 counts for money laundering involving 1MDB funds, amounting to RM2.28 billion.

He was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon between 2011 and 2014. — Bernama