KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court here on Thursday (Jan 9) set Jan 14 for decision of Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam's (pic) application to set aside the leave obtained by Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas to initiate committal proceedings against him for allegedly intimidating a witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.
The witness is Najib’s former special officer, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who is one of the key witnesses in the case.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah set the date after hearing submissions from senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who is representing the AG, and counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for Lokman.
Muhammad Shafee, in his submission, said the cause papers filed by the applicant (AG) did not provide the specific provision empowering the court to grant leave to commence committal proceedings against the respondent (Lokman).
"The Notice to Show Cause was issued by Bahagian Perundangan dan Pendakwaan, Ibu Pejabat Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (Legal and Prosecution Division, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters). The said body that issued The Notice to Show Cause to my client has no power nor jurisdiction to do so.
"Only this court has the power and jurisdiction to issue this notice and to call for the respondent to provide an explanation on the alleged contemptuous action," he said, adding that the Notice to Show Cause against his client is defective.
Sri Ram countered that the AG is the proper person to commence contempt proceedings against the respondent and there was no prejudice or substantial injustice suffered by the respondent.
"The application to set aside is devoid of merit and should be dismissed," he said.
On Oct 22, last year, Justice Sequerah granted leave for the AG to initiate committal proceeding against Lokman for contempt of court acts perpetrated on two occasions on Sept 25, last year.
In the application, the AG sought an order for Lokman to be committed to prison or be fined for his actions.
The AG said that on that date (Sept 25) the respondent in a video interview uttered words constituting an express or implied threat against the witness, Amhari Efendi, who was the special officer to Najib, for having given evidence against the accused in the criminal trial of public prosecutor against the former prime minister at the High Court.
The AG said he would play the said video recording at the hearing of the application for leave and at the hearing of the substantive motion in the event leave is granted.
He said on the same day, Lokman lodged the police report against Amhari Efendi, who was the eighth prosecution witness, in respect of the evidence given by him at Najib’s ongoing criminal trial.
The object or purpose of the respondent's said act was to harass and intimidate Amhari Efendi, other witnesses and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence against the accused in the trial, said the AG.-Bernama