Shafee wants court to compel Sulaiman to produce licence to prosecute Najib

Sulaiman Abdullah is the prosecutor appointed by the AG to handle the charges against Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the lead counsel in Najib Razak’s defence team, has urged ad-hoc deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Sulaiman Abdullah to produce his licence (fiat) issued by the Attorney-General (AG).

“We are making a request that a copy of the document be tendered to the court,” lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

He said it should not be classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“If AG Tommy Thomas has classified the document, he could declassify it,” he added.

On Aug 31, Sulaiman and retired judge Gopal Sri Ram were appointed by AG Tommy Thomas as ad-hoc prosecutors to handle the SRC and 1MDB cases.

Sulaiman is leading the prosecution team in the trial of Najib who is facing criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering charges related to the RM42 million allegedly deposited into his personal bank accounts from SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Sri Ram was appointed senior deputy public prosecutor to spearhead the process of studying investigation papers, drafting charges and prosecuting any accused charged with 1MDB-related offences.

Shafee said Sulaiman and Sri Ram were appointed under different provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code.

He also complained that no accredited DPPs from the Attorney-General’s Chambers had introduced Sulaiman as ad-hoc DPP to Nazlan before proceedings started.

“When I was made an ad-hoc DPP, a senior DPP informed me of my status to the court before I led the prosecution team in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy appeal,” said Shafee, referring to his role as prosecutor in the sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim.

Shafee said although he produced his certificate to the court, Anwar’s lawyers challenged his appointment.

He said it was a standard practice for the prosecution to tender a copy of the appointment letter to the court but this was not done in Sulaiman’s case.

He said Sri Ram was also asked to produce his certificate during a hearing on Sept 20 but he curtly replied that “we will deal with it.”

“However, he later showed the certificate to my colleague but informed him that he was not obliged to give a copy to the court,” he said.

Shafee said the Pakatan Harapan government should be transparent in its dealings.

“My questioning is not meant to insult Sulaiman but to scrutinise the appointment,” he added.

Sulaiman replied that Shafee was making an issue out of his appointment which was classified under the OSA.

“I would dismiss his application. This is new Malaysia and let us get on with the case,” he added.

He said Shafee was insinuating that he and Sri Ram did not have the certificate to appear in court.

“Shafee wants to claim that government is seeking refuge under the OSA in not disclosing my appointment letter,” he said.

He said the prosecution would challenge any application by the defence on his appointment.

“My team will respond. We will object to their application,” he added.

Nazlan said Sulaiman’s appointment could be thrashed out during a pre-trial conference on Oct 25.