Rosmah Mansor has filed an application to recuse High Court justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her money laundering and tax evasion trial.
Rosmah, 69, who filed the application in the High Court through Messrs Geethan Ram on Nov 2, also applied for an order that, following Zaini’s move to recuse himself, the case should be set before another High Court judge.
Rosmah, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, filed the application on the grounds that Zaini is the judge presiding over her corruption case involving a solar hybrid project in Sarawak.
On Feb 18, Zaini ruled that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against Rosmah, and ordered her to enter her defence in the graft case, the proceedings of which are to resume on Dec 8.
Rosmah claimed that statements and exhibits tendered before the court in the solar case could directly or indirectly influence Zaini if he was to preside over the money laundering case.
“The applicant’s right to a fair trial is protected as a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution, and that right will be severely prejudiced and pointless if the judge hears the case,” Rosmah claimed in her application.
When contacted, her lawyer Geethan Ram Vincent said that today was set for the management of the case before High Court deputy registrar Catherine Nicholas.
Rosmah is facing 12 money laundering charges involving RM7,097,750 and five counts of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.
The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, ground floor, 148 Jalan Ampang between Dec 4, 2013 and June 8, 2017, and the Inland Revenue Board, Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2018.
The charges of money laundering were framed under Section 4(1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, punishable under Section 4(1) of the same law, which provides for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of unlawful activity, or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
The charges of tax evasion, made under Section 77(1) of the Income Tax Act 1967, said that she had failed to furnish returns of her income for the assessment years 2013 to 2017 to the LHDN director-general on or before April 30, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 without reasonable excuse, contrary to Section 112 of the law.