Monday, July 4, 2022

Najib loses bid to disqualify Sri Ram from prosecuting 1MDB cases

A three-man Federal Court bench throws out his application for leave to appeal against the dismissal of his judicial review challenge.

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The Federal Court today threw out Najib Razak’s application for leave to appeal against the dismissal of his judicial review challenge to disqualify former judge Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution in his 1MDB-linked cases.

A three-man bench led by by Mohd Zawawi Salleh ruled that no novel question of law had arisen requiring the court to hear the merits of Najib’s appeal to remove Sri Ram from prosecuting his cases, news portal Malaysiakini reported.

Zawawi, who sat with P Nallini and Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, said the legal questions in Najib’s application had been decided in the appeal brought by PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2014 to challenge the appointment of Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as ad hoc prosecutor in his sodomy appeals.

The Federal Court subsequently upheld the findings of the Court of Appeal in that case.

Zawawi also dismissed Najib’s application for leave, with no order to costs.

Najib filed the judicial review application to disqualify Sri Ram as the senior deputy public prosecutor in his 1MDB-linked cases in December 2018.

This was dismissed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in August 2020.

In November last year, the former prime minister lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Shafee, who is Najib’s lawyer, also filed for a judicial review as he too was seeking to recuse Sri Ram from his RM9.5 million money laundering trial.

The duo had sought a court order to revoke Sri Ram’s appointment or recuse him, saying that his letter of appointment was invalid.

They also wanted a declaration that there was a conflict of interest in Sri Ram’s appointment, and an order to prohibit him from leading the prosecution team in all of their cases, including on corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.

Shafee’s appeal was dismissed alongside Najib’s.

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