Sulaiman and Sri Ram appointments in Najib case not state secret, says lawyer

Manjeet Singh Dhillon says Najib’s lawyer Shafee Abdullah is entitled to ask for the licence. (Youtube screengrab)

PETALING JAYA: A senior lawyer has questioned the secrecy behind the appointments of Gopal Sri Ram and Sulaiman Abdullah as ad-hoc prosecutors in the upcoming trial of Najib Razak, saying it was wrong to invoke the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“Nothing secret about it and it does not concern national security,” Manjeet Singh Dhillon, a former deputy public prosecutor (DPP), told FMT.

His comments were in response to Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Najib’s defence counsel, who asked Sulaiman to produce his licence during a proceeding before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Sulaiman was picked by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to prosecute Najib over the RM42 million found in the ex-prime minister’s private bank account.

In response to Shafee’s request, Sulaiman said his appointment was governed under the OSA, to which Shafee said the Pakatan Harapan government should be committed to transparency.

Manjeet said a lawyer or a judge was perfectly entitled to ask an ad-hoc prosecutor to produce the licence (fiat).

“It is like a lawyer’s practising certificate and one is entitled to ask for it to be produced in court,” he said.

Manjeet said ad hoc DPP’s were public servants and their appointments were not a state secret.

“Their appointments were made public and the details need not be hidden,” he said.

Manjeet hoped Sulaiman and Sri Ram would produce their appointment letters.

Sulaiman, a lawyer, and retired judge Sri Ram were appointed by Thomas as ad-hoc DPPs to handle the SRC and 1MDB cases.

Najib 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.