Najib fails to remove Sri Ram as leading prosecutor in 1MDB trial

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ FILE PIX

The High Court has dismissed Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s application to recuse leading prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report tampering trial.

Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan this morning ruled that there was no evidence to prove that Sri Ram was biased in conducting the trial.

He also said Sri Ram, as anybody else, is entitled to have an opinion and Sri Ram’s opinion cannot be taken to mean that it would impinge on his duties as a senior public prosecutor.

Additionally, he said the applicant, which is Najib as the defence in the trial, did not make any complain earlier about Sri Ram’s conduct in the trial, which lent credence to the contention of the respondent, which is the prosecution in the trial, that Sri Ram has been above board in his conduct as a deputy public prosecutor (DPP).

“The applicant’s allegation that Sri Ram has been involved in the investigation against him is without merit.

“There is nothing to support the application and it remains hypothetical,” Mohamed Zaini said today.

This is Najib’s third attempt to recuse Sri Ram from prosecuting in the 1MDB-linked criminal cases after meeting with two failures.

The first application was for another 1MDB case before a different judge and the other was through a civil proceeding.

In the 1MDB audit report tampering trial, Najib is charged with abusing his power as a public officer in his capacity as PM and finance minister in altering the 1MDB audit report.

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of abetting Najib in tampering with the company’s audit report, which was then tabled to the Public Accounts Committee for investigation.