Saturday, January 22, 2022

Rosmah fails again to remove Sri Ram and nullify corruption case

A three-man bench agrees with the prosecution's contention that the criminal court has no jurisdiction to grant the declaratory relief sought by Rosmah as the appellant.

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Rosmah Mansor today failed in her bid to nullify her corruption trial over a RM1.25 billion hybrid solar project in Sarawak and to remove Gopal Sri Ram as the lead prosecutor in the case.

This followed the decision of a three-member bench led by Court of Appeal judge Hanipah Farikullah allowing the preliminary objection raised by the prosecution on Rosmah’s appeal.

Hanipah, in the unanimous decision, said the bench agreed with the prosecution’s contention that the criminal court has no jurisdiction to grant the declaratory relief sought by Rosmah as the appellant.

“We are of the view that the reliefs must fall within the matters allowed under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). However, there is nothing in the CPC that confers powers and jurisdiction to the High Court to exercise its criminal procedures to grant declaratory orders.

“Based on the foregoing reasons, it is our considered view that the High Court in the exercise of the criminal procedures has no jurisdiction and power to grant the reliefs sought by the appellant.

“Therefore, we allow the prosecution’s preliminary objection and the appellant’s appeals are dismissed,” she said, adding that the bench could not proceed to hear the merit of the appeal.

The other bench members were judges M Gunalan and Hashim Hamzah.

The panel made the ruling after hearing submissions by Sri Ram and counsel Jagjit Singh and Akberdin Abdul Kader, who appeared for Rosmah.

Before the hearing began, Jagjit apologised to the court on behalf of Rosmah for not being present in court for last Thursday’s proceedings.

“(We) express profound apology for the absence of the appellant last week. She expresses her sincerest apologies,” the lawyer said.

Rosmah, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, was appealing against the High Court’s decision on Sept 24 rejecting her application to nullify her entire trial in an effort to be freed of all three charges and to remove Sri Ram as the lead prosecutor in the case.

Rosmah is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two charges of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin through her former assistant Rizal Mansor as a reward for assisting Jepak Holdings to secure a RM1.25 billion project to equip 369 schools in rural Sarawak with solar hybrid power.

On Oct 4, the Court of Appeal rejected Rosmah’s application to adjourn her corruption trial while waiting for the decision on the appeal.

Following the decision, Rosmah, 69, testified as a defence witness during the hearing held at the High Court on Oct 5. The trial is scheduled to resume on Dec 8.

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