Najib in bid to recuse Sri Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has filed for leave for a judicial review to challenge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram’s appointment as the lead prosecutor in his corruption and money laundering charges amounting to RM2.3bil involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the High Court yesterday that the defence filed the application for leave to support their earlier application to disqualify Sri Ram’s appointment.

On Aug 31, Attorney General Tommy Thomas announced the appointment of Sri Ram, a retired federal court judge, as the lead prosecutor in the prosecution against Najib’s 1MBD and its related cases.

Muhammad Shafee said the defence team had sought several orders in the leave application to quash several decisions relating to the appointment of Sri Ram.

The application is expected to be heard today at the High Court (Appellate and Special Powers).

He said the leave for a judicial review was a complementary application to their notice of motion at the criminal High Court to disqualify Sri Ram.

Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah then fixed Jan 31 for case management and Feb 8 to hear the result of the leave application.

On Sept 20 last year, Najib claimed trial to a total of 25 corruption charges involving RM2.3bil allegedly from the state fund.

His first four charges were under Section 23(1) and Section 24(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act while the other 21 charges were under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act.

In the charges under the MACC Act, Najib, 64, was accused of using his then position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the 1MDB advisory board to receive bribes on four occasions.

The money-laundering charges include nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.

All the offences allegedly took place at AmIslamic Bank Bhd’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch in Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014.