Shafee’s appeal to disqualify Sri Ram fixed for Sept 30

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal will hear lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s appeal on a criminal motion to recuse Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution in his RM9.5 million money laundering case after the outcome of a civil hearing which is now before a High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

A three-member bench chaired by Kamaluddin Md Said allowed the lawyer’s application to vacate his appeal to Sept 30.

Other members of the bench were Azizah Nawawi and Ahmad Nasfi Yasin.

Deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz did not object to the application.

Lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, who represented Shafee, told the bench his client and former prime minister Najib Razak had filed a judicial review also aimed at removing Sri Ram from leading the prosecution in the 1MDB trial.

“The issues in the criminal motion and the judicial review are different but the net effect is the same,” he told the bench.

The lawyer later told FMT that Sri Ram would be barred from prosecuting in any criminal case if the court ruled in favour of Shafee and Najib.

The judicial review is currently being heard by High Court judge Mariana Yahya.

Najib and Shafee are challenging Sri Ram’s appointment by the attorney-general (AG) under Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code on grounds that it is unreasonable, irrational and considerably improper.

Harvinderjit, who is also appearing for Shafee before Mariana, said the AG did not have the power to appoint a lawyer as a part-time deputy public prosecutor.

On April 23 last year, Shafee failed in his bid to disqualify Sri Ram from prosecuting his case in the RM9.5 million money laundering case.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah did not find any merit to suggest that Sri Ram was in conflict of interest or that he would be biased against Shafee.

In September 2018, Shafee claimed trial to two counts of money laundering and two counts of making false statements involving RM9.5 million received from Najib in 2013 and 2014.

Trial dates have yet to be fixed.