KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's graft trial involving RM7mil in money laundering and tax evasion must be given priority as it has been four years since she was first charged, the High Court said.
During case management here on Tuesday (Nov 29), High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan reminded parties to prioritise the case, which is yet to go to hearing, despite the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak being charged on Oct 4, 2018.
"I am of the view that we should fix trial dates for this case but if the Court of Appeal allows the appeal (filed by Rosmah) to recuse me from hearing the case, this matter will be heard before a different judge," Justice Mohamed Zaini said.
Rosmah's lawyer Revin Kumar said he needed to refer to lead counsel Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, who was not present, for his (Geethan's) available dates.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Poh Yih Tinn told the court that the prosecution would be calling 14 witnesses to testify.
It is estimated that the witnesses would complete their testimonies in two weeks.
Justice Mohamed Zaini then fixed Dec 1 for mention to fix the trial dates.
Rosmah, 70, is facing 12 money laundering charges, involving RM7,097,750, and five counts of failure to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).
The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, Jalan Ampang here between Dec 4, 2013, and June 8, 2017, and at LHDN at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, here, between May 1, 2014, and May 1, 2018.
Rosmah's bid to recuse Justice Mohamed Zaini from hearing the case is currently at the Court of Appeal stage.
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In her recusal applications, Rosmah claimed, among other things, that there was a danger of Justice Mohamed Zaini being prejudiced and biased against her if he presided over the money laundering case as he had already presided over her solar hybrid graft trial related to rural schools in Sarawak.
On Sept 1, the same judge found Rosmah guilty of three charges of corruption related to the solar hybrid project worth RM1.25bil for 369 rural schools in Sarawak, and sentenced her to 10 years in prison and a fine of RM970mil.
Rosmah is out on bail pending her appeal against the conviction and sentence at the Court of Appeal.