KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Private lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram today confirmed that new Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun asked him to continue with his work in handling high-profile criminal cases involving alleged corruption.
Sri Ram said Idrus had contacted him to ask for him to proceed with leading the prosecution in these court cases.
“He just confirmed go ahead, that’s all,” the former Federal Court judge-turned-lawyer told reporters when met at the Kuala Lumpur court complex after the hearing of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s bribery trial.
“He called me up to say just carry on,” he added.
When asked if Idrus’ nod for him to carry on with the prosecution work was for all cases he was currently handling, Sri Ram said he understood this to be the case.
Sri Ram confirmed that the nod from Idrus did not involve matters such as renewing of a mandate for him to handle the prosecution work, but said it was merely a phone call for him to continue on.
Apart from Rosmah’s bribery trial, Sri Ram is currently leading the prosecution for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial over the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, as well as for Najib’s joint trial with former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy over the alleged tampering of the Auditor-General’s final audit report on 1MDB,
Last September, Idrus’ predecessor Tan Sri Tommy Thomas had as the attorney general appointed Sri Ram to be a senior deputy public prosecutor to handle the prosecution related to the 1MDB scandal.
After Thomas unexpectedly resigned recently as attorney general following Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s own resignation as prime minister, lawyers had told Malay Mail that all appointments of private lawyers by Thomas such as Sri Ram and Datuk V. Sithambaram — to conduct the prosecution of high-profile corruption cases — will continue to remain valid unless revoked.
The lawyers had also previously told Malay Mail that these high-profile corruption cases including those faced by former Umno president Najib, Najib’s wife Rosmah, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and that were initiated during Thomas’ tenure would continue on unless revoked by a new attorney general.
The recent change in government that saw Umno restored to power had saw speculation about the fate of the multiple corruption cases involving various Umno leaders, but some such as Najib and Zahid had said they wanted to continue to face trial in court.
Last Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the appointment of Idrus — who until then was a Federal Court judge — as the new attorney general.