KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court was told that former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram (picture) will argue personally against Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s application to disqualify him as the lead prosecutor in her corruption trial linked to the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
The matter was informed by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Mohamad Mustafa P Kunyalam during case management before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan today.
“My Lord, Datuk Seri Sri Ram himself will lead the submissions because he said this affects him personally, so he will come and submit, that is my instruction,” said the DPP.
To this, counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh, who leads Rosmah’s legal team stood up and objected to it, saying that there was no locus standi for Sri Ram to do so.
“Sri Ram cannot argue on his own cause, although this is not a judge in his own cause, it affects him personally. It will become a mockery. This is highly improper and coming from an ex-judge, he should know better,” said Jagjit.
Mohamad Mustafa further cited the case of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, whereby Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s appointment as a DPP was challenged and he (Muhammad Shafee) appeared himself to defend his appointment.
“We are guided by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s case, Muhammad Shafee was asked to be disqualified, he submitted on his own, there was no issue, it was decided by a Federal Court judge,” he added.
Rosmah’s other lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader replied that there was no issue about the fiat in Muhammad Shafee’s appointment as DPP.
“But here, the fiat (in Sri Ram’s appointment) is being challenged. He doesn’t have locus standi as far as the matter is concerned,” said the lawyer.
Muhammad Shafee, a senior lawyer, was appointed by the Attorney-General by fiat (authorisation) under Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution to conduct the appeal in Anwar’s case.
Judge Mohamed Zaini then asked both parties to resolve the issue before the hearing of the application.
“I don’t want any technical issues raised during the hearing. Please think about this matter,” the judge said and fixed June 3 to hear Rosmah’s application.
Last Thursday, Rosmah, 69, had filed two applications at the High Court here seeking to nullify her entire trial, in her bid to be acquitted of all three charges and seeking once again to remove Sri Ram as the lead prosecutor in her trial.
The application was filed after the Court of Appeal, on April 8, allowed Rosmah’s appeal to obtain a copy of Sri Ram’s appointment letter, after the prosecution conceding to provide it to the defence team.
Rosmah brought the matter up for appeal after the High Court dismissed her application for Sri Ram’s appointment letter on Aug 19 last year.
The appointment letter was not dated on or before Nov 15, 2018, the day when Rosmah was charged in court, and was not signed by the then Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas. Instead, the letter was dated July 8 last year and signed by the current Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
On Feb 18, 2021, Judge Mohamed Zaini ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on all three corruption charges and fixed nine days, namely on June 9,10,15,16,17,22, 23 and July 12 and 15, to hear the evidence from Rosmah and other defence witnesses.