Saturday, May 21, 2022

Rosmah files new application to disqualify judge from hearing money laundering case

Her lawyer says the latest application is based on new grounds.

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Rosmah Mansor has filed a new application to recuse High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her money laundering and tax evasion trial.

This is the second time that the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak has filed an application after Zaini – who is also the judge in Rosmah’s solar hybrid trial – rejected her application to recuse himself from hearing the trial on Dec 14.

Rosmah’s counsel Reza Rahim informed the court that the latest recusal application was filed yesterday at 5pm.

“The latest recusal application is based on new grounds,” he said during the proceedings before Zaini today.

Today’s proceeding was fixed to hear Rosmah’s application to stay the trial of the money laundering and tax evasion case, pending the disposal of her appeal to the Court of Appeal to recuse the judge.

Rosmah’s other defence counsel, Geethan Ram Vincent, said they would also be filing a fresh application to disqualify former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram from acting as senior deputy public prosecutor in the case.

Geethan said the defence team decided to file the disqualification application after receiving a copy of Sri Ram’s appointment letter (fiat) during proceedings today.

“We take the position that if this fiat was general in nature, then well and good, but it specifically mentions that he (Sri Ram) only be given authority to prosecute in two cases (two files collectively referring to the solar corruption case) against my client.

“The (money laundering and tax evasion) case before your lordship today was not spelt out here,” Geethan said.

However, Sri Ram said the prosecution would be objecting to Rosmah’s application to disqualify him.

Sri Ram said his fiat by the Attorney-General’s Chambers under Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code gave him wide-ranging powers to prosecute any case.

He added that Rosmah’s previous attempt to disqualify him as prosecutor in the solar hybrid case was already dismissed by Zaini and the decision affirmed by the Court of Appeal on Dec 6, last year.

Zaini fixed Jan 24 to hear all of the applications by Rosmah.

Rosmah is facing 12 money laundering charges involving RM7,097,750 and five counts of failure to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, Jalan Ampang between Dec 4, 2013 and June 8, 2017, and at LHDN at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2018.

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