Tommy Thomas steps aside as lead prosecutor in Najib's 1MDB case

Attorney General Tommy Thomas. – AP

PETALING JAYA: Attorney General Tommy Thomas has stepped aside as lead prosecutor in the criminal case against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and has appointed Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah to replace him.  

In a statement on Friday (Aug 31) Thomas said that his responsibilities as Attorney General took precedence and he was unable to devote time to the case.  

"I have come to the realisation that I cannot combine these onerous commitments with the simultaneous preparation and conduct of a seven-week trial in PP v Najib Razak, fixed to commence on February 12, 2019 and completing on March 29, 2019," he said.  

Thomas said that he would therefore use his discretion under Section 379 of the Criminal Procedure Code and appoint Sulaiman to lead the prosecution instead.  

He also said that Sulaiman would be waiving all fees and was offering his services on a pro bono basis.  

Thomas also announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as a deputy public prosecutor, who similarly offered his services pro bono.  

He said that the retired Federal Court Judge would aid the case once investigation papers into the alleged fraud relating to 1MDB were submitted to the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC).  

On the incoming personnel, Thomas said; "Datuk Sulaiman is one of the nation's leading barristers, having substantial experience in criminal law, including white collar crime. His eloquence is unmatched, and his intellect second to none. Datuk Sulaiman has impeccable integrity, and is a principled lawyer.  

"Datuk Seri Sri Ram ... has substantial experience in criminal law matters. His strong and determined personality will no doubt enhance the investigation and prosecution in all matters pertaining to the 1MDB scandal," he said.
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