Najib makes new attempt to disqualify Sri Ram as prosecutor

Najib Razak wants to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in the ongoing 1MDB audit report tampering trial.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak has made another attempt to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team but this time in the ongoing 1MDB audit report tampering trial.

The former prime minister today filed a notice of motion, together with an affidavit, in support of his application to recuse the former Federal Court judge.

Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has also filed an affidavit in support of Najib’s application.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Apandi said Sri Ram had told him that then-opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad had ordered him to arrest Najib for an unspecified offence in January 2018.

In response, Sri Ram, who has been given a special licence to prosecute in 1MDB related cases, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib confirmed that Najib filed the application and that a case management would be held on Monday before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

The judge is also presiding over the 1MDB audit report tampering case, which was earlier fixed for continued hearing from Monday to Thursday.

“The application was filed around noon and we received the court papers this evening. We will respond by filing an affidavit,” he told FMT.

Najib is accused of using his position to obtain immunity from legal action in relation to allegations that he tampered with the 1MDB audit report between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of abetting in the crime.

Last August, a seven-member Federal Court bench dismissed Najib’s bid to stop Sri Ram from prosecuting in the 1MDB case.

In the unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the apex court upheld the concurrent findings of the High Court and Court of Appeal.

“The appeal is devoid of merit. We dismiss the appeal,” she said in a brief oral ruling after hearing submissions.

However, the bench ordered the prosecution to produce Sri Ram’s appointment letter as senior deputy public prosecutor and to extend a copy to Najib’s lawyers.

In this case, Najib faces four charges of abusing his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

This case will resume on June 29.

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