Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today failed in their bid to challenge the appointment of former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram (picture) as the head of the prosecution team in their cases.
High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Datuk Azizah Nawawi dismissed, in her chambers, the application by Najib and Muhammad Shafee for leave to initiate a judicial review over Sri Ram’s appointment.
Najib was represented by Muhammad Shafee and lawyer Harvinderjit Singh acted for Muhammad Shafee while Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan appeared for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).
Azizah, in her judgment, said the prayer sought in the leave application by Najib and Muhammad Shafee was similar to that in the application made by them at the Criminal High Court.
The judge said it was more convenient for the issue (of the appointment of Sri Ram as a senior public prosecutor) to be addressed in the Criminal High Court as a similar application was pending in that court.
“I am of the considered opinion the prayer which the applicants are seeking here is the same prayer in the Criminal Motion. This is not an issue of jurisdiction as both this court and the Criminal Court have jurisdiction on the subject matter.
“It is just that this court may issue an order of certiorari whilst the Criminal Court may grant the order to the Attorney-General (AG) to furnish the impugn letter of appointment to the applicants. In respect of the declaratory orders sought, both this court and the Criminal High Court have concurrent jurisdiction,” she said.
Najib and Muhammad Shafee had filed the judicial review applications separately in December last year, naming the Attorney-General/Public Prosecutor as the first respondent and the Government of Malaysia and Sri Ram as the second and third respondents.
In both applications, they sought for an order to disqualify the decision of the Attorney-General/Public Prosecutor who, they stated, did not submit to them a copy of Sri Ram’s letter of appointment to lead the prosecution team, claiming that it was a violation of Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
They also wanted a court order to revoke or recuse the appointment of Sri Ram, saying that the letter of appointment was invalid, and sought a declaration that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment.
They also requested an order to prohibit Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in all their cases, including on corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.