KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here fixed Jan 27 to hear Najib Razak’s bid to disqualify senior lawyer Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution in his 1MDB audit report case.
Najib’s lawyer, Nur Syahirah Hanapiah, said this to reporters after the case was mentioned today before the registrar.
“Lead counsel (Muhammad Shafee Abdullah) is currently on medical leave, so the hearing initially fixed for today has to be taken off,” she said.
Najib wants to disqualify Sri Ram from leading the 1MDB audit report prosecution team, after former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali claimed on Facebook that the lawyer had told him Dr Mahathir Mohamad had ordered him to arrest Najib for an unspecified offence in January 2018.
Apandi said Sri Ram suggested that the fact that money was found in Najib’s accounts was enough to frame charges against him, and added that he was taken aback by his statement.
In response, Sri Ram refuted accusations of bias in Najib’s 1MDB-related cases, saying it was for the court to decide whether Najib was guilty of the charges against him based on the evidence produced.
Najib and Shafee previously challenged then attorney-general Tommy Thomas’ decision to appoint Sri Ram in their 1MDB-related cases but both applications were turned down by the court.
Sri Ram is leading the prosecution team in the ongoing 1MDB corruption case in which Najib is accused of 25 money laundering and abuse of power charges amounting to RM2.28 billion.
He is also spearheading the prosecution in the 1MDB audit report case in which Najib is charged with abusing his power in causing amendments to the report’s finalised version before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of abetting Najib.
This trial will resume on Jan 18.