New AG Idrus okays Sri Ram prosecuting Najib, Rosmah

Gopal Sri Ram.

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Gopal Sri Ram says he has been directed by newly minted attorney-general (AG) Idrus Harun to continue all prosecutions against several individuals including former prime minister Najib Razak.

Sri Ram, who was given a special licence to lead the prosecution in four cases, said the AG’s instruction was that ongoing and upcoming trials would proceed.

“This was the instruction to me,” he told FMT before the corruption trial of Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, resumed today before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

He declined to comment further on the issue.

On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Idrus, a former Federal Court judge, had been appointed as AG on a two-year contract.

The AG also acts as public prosecutor.

Under Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution, the AG has the discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue any criminal case.

Sri Ram, who is also a former Federal Court judge, is conducting Najib’s trial in which the ex-prime minister is accused of tampering with the final audit report of 1MDB.

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy was charged with abetting.

In a separate case, Najib is being tried on four counts of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

Rosmah, meanwhile, faces one count of soliciting RM187.5 million from Saidi Abang Samsudin, the managing director of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, as an inducement to help the company secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Genset/Diesel for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

She has also been charged with two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM6.5 million from Saidi.

In addition, Sri Ram leads the prosecution team in the trial of lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who faces two counts of money laundering charges involving RM9.5 million allegedly received from Najib.

The lawyer also faces another two charges of making false statements to the Inland Revenue Board.

Case management will be held on April 30 to determine new trial dates.