PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has questioned whether it has the jurisdiction to hear Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's appeal to recuse High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her money laundering and tax evasion case.
A three-member panel led by Datuk Hanipah Farikullah asked both prosecution and defence teams to submit their additional submissions to hear the issue before hearing Rosmah's main appeal.
Hanipah said further clarification was needed to determine whether the matter is appealable under Section 3 read together with Section 51 of the Courts of Judicature Act.
The prosecution represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Poh Yin Tinn said the court has fixed Dec 23 for next case management.
Zaini had dismissed Rosmah's first application on Dec 14 and the second on April 25.
Rosmah, who is Datuk Seri Najib Razak's wife, is appealing against both decisions.
Rosmah in her application claimed that there was a risk of the judge being prejudiced and biased against her, given that he had presided over her RM1.25 billion solar hybrid graft trial.
Zaini also described Rosmah's decision to include two additional cases that he presided over, namely the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) forfeiture case and 1MDB audit trial as to add 'colour' in her application.
He said it was amusing that Rosmah had mentioned those two cases as he had in the 1MDB forfeiture case, dismissed the prosecution's attempt to forfeit properties belonging to her.
The 1MDB audit trial on the other hand, does not concern the applicant at all, he said.
Rosmah, 70, is facing 12 money laundering charges amounting to about RM7 million and five counts of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.
On Sept 1, Zaini convicted Rosmah and sentenced her to 10 years' jail for each of the charges with the prison terms to run concurrently. The judge also fined her RM970 million, and if she fails to pay the fine, she will be liable to a total of 30 years' jail.
The High Court, however, granted her a stay of execution of the imprisonment term and fine pending her appeal to the Court of Appeal.