Monday, June 14, 2021

Sri Ram appointed in 2018 to handle high-profile cases, says ex-AG Thomas

He says this includes Rosmah Mansor's corruption case involving a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak.

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Former attorney-general Tommy Thomas says he appointed Gopal Sri Ram as deputy public prosecutor in 2018 to handle high-profile criminal cases including Rosmah Mansor’s corruption case involving a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak.

Thomas, 69, said the appointment was in accordance with Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), as Sri Ram was under his general control and directive and was in a position to exercise all the powers of the public prosecutor.

“I myself empowered him (Sri Ram) in my capacity as public prosecutor for him to conduct other prosecution cases.

“This includes the case of Rosmah, who has been charged with offences under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

“Therefore, the allegation that when I instructed Sri Ram to lead the criminal proceedings in this case, I had to give him another written letter as required under Section 379 of the CPC, is a misconception of the law,” he said in a sworn affidavit on behalf of Sri Ram filed in the High Court yesterday.

Thomas’ affidavit was in response to Rosmah’s application seeking to nullify her entire trial, in her bid to be acquitted of all three charges, as well as to remove Sri Ram as lead prosecutor.

Thomas, who was appointed as the attorney-general on June 4, 2018, in his affidavit said Rosmah’s application to challenge Sri Ram’s appointment was done with malinten and was baseless and an abuse of the court process.

“If Sri Ram did not have the authority, which has already been confirmed by my successor (Idrus Harun), would the prosecution team which serves permanently in the Attorney-General’s Chambers accept and work under his leadership on behalf of the prosecution?” he said.

Thomas said on Aug 30, 2018, he had also appointed Sri Ram as deputy public prosecutor to prosecute in the 1MDB case involving Najib Razak, and the appointment was challenged by the former prime minister, in which the latter failed at all levels including in the Federal Court.

Rosmah’s application, which was filed on May 6, will be heard before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on June 30.

Rosmah, 69, filed the application after the Court of Appeal on April 8 allowed her appeal to get a copy of Sri Ram’s appointment letter, after the prosecution agreed to provide it to the defence team.

Rosmah brought the matter up for appeal after the High Court dismissed her application for Sri Ram’s appointment letter on Aug 19 last year.

The appointment letter was not dated on or before Nov 15, 2018, the day when Rosmah was charged in court, and was not signed by Thomas. Instead, the letter was dated July 8 last year and signed by Idrus.

On Feb 18, 2021, Zaini ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on all three corruption charges and fixed nine days, namely on June 9,10,15,16,17,22, 23 and July 12 and 15, to hear evidence from Rosmah and other defence witnesses.

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