Lawyer demands Sri Ram’s letter of appointment

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 06 Aug 2020

Day in court: Rosmah arriving at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur. She faces charges in connection with the solar energy project in Sarawak. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The defence in the corruption trial of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in connection with the supply and installation of solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak, wants the prosecution to produce a copy of the letter of appointment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) in the case.

Rosmah’s lead counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh submitted that if there was no such letter of appointment, then the former Federal Court judge should opt out of the proceedings.

“The sole objective of seeking the production of the letter of appointment is to determine the locus standi of the senior DPP (Sri Ram) to appear and conduct the proceedings.

“Since the commencement of this trial, there has been no document or letter of appointment or any other instrument in writing advanced by the prosecution to confirm that Sri Ram has been appointed Senior DPP, specifically for this case.

“In the absence of such document, this honourable court must hold that Sri Ram is not a fit and proper person to act as DPP, let alone to conduct the case, ” he added.

Jagjit was submitting in Rosmah’s application to obtain Sri Ram’s letter of appointment as Senior DPP in her corruption case before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

He told the court that his client, who is the wife of a former prime minister, was entitled to verify the validity and the legality of the appointment of a practising advocate and solicitor as a Senior DPP to prosecute in her case, as she was facing serious charges.

The lawyer cited a Federal Court order in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case of Rosmah’s husband, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, which empowered the High Court to issue the said order (production of letter of appointment) to the former prime minister.

DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib, in objecting the application, said Rosmah was not entitled to the letter of appointment as the law did not require the production of the document and the counsel had no right to see it.

He said if the appointment was being challenged based on case law, it required only production of the letter of appointment for the court to view it without a corresponding duty to supply the same to the counsel.

“Furthermore, the appointment of Sri Ram as Senior DPP was never in doubt. The application was made in the middle of the trial after the applicant had thoroughly acknowledged the presence and authority of Sri Ram as Senior DPP.

“Sri Ram, too, had throughout the trial openly exercised the duty of a Senior DPP, a fact which much be within the knowledge of the Public Prosecutor and whose duty would be to ensure that Sri Ram had not illegally occupied the position, ” he said.

Ahmad Akram also submitted that the Federal Court order, which the applicant relied upon, was not authority for the proposition that the court was empowered to issue the order as sought by the applicant.

He said the order impacted only the duty of the prosecution in the 1MDB case to disclose the letter of appointment to both the court and the counsel.

“In the absence of a reasoned judgment, the order does not bind and impose a duty on this honourable court to issue the same order as the Federal Court did, ” he said.

After hearing submissions from both parties Justice Mohamed Zaini fixed Aug 17 for decision.

Rosmah, 68, is on trial on one count of soliciting RM187.5mil and two counts of receiving RM6.5mil in bribes from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin in connection with the solar energy project.

The bribes were allegedly received through her former assistant Datuk Rizal Mansor as a reward for helping Jepak Holdings secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project as well as the maintenance and operation of diesel gen-sets for 369 Sarawak rural schools worth RM1.25bil from the Education Ministry through direct negotiation.

The acts were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra here; Rosmah’s residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta; and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya; between January 2016 and September 2017. — Bernama

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