High Court to decide on PO in Rosmah's attempt to disqualify Sri Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court (Special Powers) here has fixed Aug 30 to deliver its decision in a preliminary objection (PO) raised in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s second attempt to disqualify Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from prosecuting her corruption case involving the RM1.25bil solar hybrid project.

Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid set the date after hearing a lengthy submission from both parties for more than two hours here on Thursday (Aug 11).

The judge will decide on whether to allow or dismiss the PO raised by the prosecution in the application.

If the PO is dismissed, the applicant (Rosmah) would obtain leave to initiate a judicial review on her attempt to disqualify Sri Ram that was dismissed by another High Court.

A dismissal of the PO would mean Rosmah's application gets to be heard on its full merit by the court.

Earlier, the court heard from Sri Ram that his appointment as the ad hoc senior deputy public prosecutor was valid and this was affirmed by the Federal Court.

"Now they (the applicant) are asking your Lordship to review that decision. We are saying that one High Court cannot review the decision of another High Court," he said.

Sri Ram added that Rosmah's application was scandalous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Meanwhile, Rosmah's lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader said Sri Ram's submission "did not paint the whole picture" of the situation.

"What he is saying is not the truth," Akberdin said.

Rosmah's team contended that the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court's affirmation of Sri Ram's appointment was "a terrible lie with mala fide to confuse the court" as the two higher courts had only heard the prosecution's PO and never heard the merits of Rosmah's application.

On Sept 24, 2021, High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, the presiding judge in Rosmah's solar hybrid trial, dismissed Rosmah's application to disqualify Sri Ram.

He ruled that Sri Ram's appointment by then Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas was validly done under Section 376(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Rosmah appealed the decision but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Dec 6, 2021.

On May 27, this year, the Federal Court ruled that Sri Ram was qualified to prosecute Rosmah in the solar hybrid project trial.

A three-member bench led by Federal Court judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh said the criminal court had no jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief sought by Rosmah to disqualify Sri Ram.

On June 24, Rosmah, 70, tried again in her bid to remove Sri Ram by filing a judicial review application through Messrs Akberdin & Co at the High Court (Special Powers).

She named the Attorney General/Public Prosecutor, the government and Sri Ram as respondents.

In her latest application, Rosmah sought to declare that the appointment of Sri Ram as senior deputy public prosecutor through three letters of appointment (fiat), dated July 8, 2020, May 11 and May 21, 2021, respectively, was unlawful.

She sought to declare that the first version of the fiat signed by Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun on July 8,2020, which should have been signed by the previous Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas on or before Nov 15, 2018 (the date of prosecution against the applicant), was invalid.

Rosmah is charged with soliciting RM187.5mil and two counts of receiving bribes of RM6.5mil from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s former managing director Saidi Abang Samsuddin through her former special officer Datuk Rizal Mansor.

It was alleged to be an inducement to help the company (Jepak Holdings) to secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Genset/Diesel for 369 rural schools in Sarawak, worth RM1.25bil.

The trial at the High Court has concluded and the verdict is scheduled to be delivered on Sept 1.

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