KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak is appealing against the High Court's decision dismissing his application to have Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram recused from leading the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit tampering trial prosecution team.
Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah confirmed that the notice of appeal had been filed here on Tuesday (Feb 16).
"We are appealing because we have got an overwhelming reason to say that the disqualification of Sri Ram is almost inevitable," he said.
Shafee said the defence felt it had strong reasons to appeal.
He said first, there was the disclosure by former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, which was contained in a supporting affidavit signed by Apandi, that was not rebutted but confirmed by Sri Ram.
Apandi claimed in his affidavit that there was communication between him and Sri Ram where the latter asked Apandi to consider charging Najib in court.
"This is misconduct on the part of the prosecutors," Shafee said.
The lawyer also said Sri Ram was not merely a prosecutor but an investigator in the 1MDB-related investigation, which is not allowed.
However, Shafee said the recently released memoir by former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas titled "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness" had claimed the situation to be true.
"In the book, Thomas disclosed in two parts of the book where he said he had specifically requested deputy public prosecutors to be involved in investigations.
"In fact, in one instance, he (Thomas) said he sent prosecutors to be involved in investigation of a crime scene.
"So on both reasons, we feel we have very strong reasons to appeal," he said.
On Monday (Feb 15), High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan dismissed Najib's application to disqualify Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in the trial where the former prime minister is accused of using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him.
The judge ruled the applicant's claims against Sri Ram, who is a former Federal Court judge, to be baseless and misplaced.