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Crime & Courts

Rosmah fails in attempt to disqualify Sri Ram and nullify trial

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today denied Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's bid to disqualify Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as the lead prosecutor in her bribery case and to annul the ongoing trial proceedings.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said Sri Ram's appointment by then Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas is valid and in accordance with Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC)

"I believe that the authorisation given by Thomas to Sri Ram to conduct the criminal prosecution in the applicant's (Rosmah) cases was without doubt validly done under the CPC," he said in his brief judgement.

Zaini said it was clear that Thomas had authorised Sri Ram to conduct the prosecution for the criminal cases against Rosmah.

He said it was public knowledge that Sri Ram had been conducting the prosecution in the cases from the onset in court.

As such, he said it defies belief that Sri Ram could do so without the knowledge and sanction of Thomas being the AG and public prosecutor then as well as the current AG.

"The applicant's applications are therefore dismissed," he said.

Zaini also dismissed an application by Rosmah's lawyers for a stay of the trial pending an appeal over the decision.

The judge said a stay of criminal proceedings will only be granted in the 'rarest of cases'.

"The fact the proceeding may be rendered a nullity is not a special circumstance," he said.

The trial at the defence stage will begin on Oct 5.

Lawyers Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader and Datuk Jagjit Singh represented Rosmah while deputy public prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib and Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam appeared for the prosecution.

Rosmah had filed the applications claiming that Sri Ram's appointment letter to be a senior deputy public prosecutor in her case was not valid.

She also argued that her trial should be nullified due to this and that she be acquitted based on a mistrial.

On Feb 18, the court ordered Rosmah to enter her defence over corruption charges involving a project to provide solar hybrid energy for rural schools in Sarawak.

Zaini had then ruled that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on all three charges.

Rosmah is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes of RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd's former managing director Saidi Abang Samsuddin, through her former special officer Datuk Rizal Mansor.

She was accused of committing the offences between Jan 2016 and Sept 2017.

She purportedly received the money in exchange for helping the company obtain a RM1.25 billion project to provide solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

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