by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE
KUALA LUMPUR – The hearing of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s (picture) application to recuse High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her money laundering and tax evasion trial has been postponed to Feb 3 after her lead counsel, Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Judge Mohamed Zaini set the new date after Rosmah’s lawyer, Azrul Zulkifli Stork informed the court that Geethan had tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan 17 and was ordered to undergo self-quarantine for 10 days until Jan 26.
According to Azrul, the wife of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was also undergoing quarantine until Jan 25 as she was in close contact with her lead counsel.
“Also came in close contact with Geethan are other lawyers (in the team), namely Datuk Firoz Hussein (Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin) who is undergoing self-quarantine in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah until Jan 25 while lawyers Reza Rahim and P. B Rajivan Nambiar are under quarantined until Jan 24.
“Therefore, we apply for today’s proceedings to be vacated,” said Azrul at the proceedings which were scheduled to hear the defence’s application to recuse Mohamed Zaini as a judge.
Azrul said a letter on the application to vacate the hearing was submitted to the court on Jan 20.
On Rosmah’s application to disqualify former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from acting as a senior deputy public prosecutor in her money laundering trial, Azrul said his team would file the application tomorrow.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Poh Yih Tinn said the prosecution had received a letter from the defence regarding the postponement of the hearing but said that his team was ready if the court decided to continue the proceedings today.
“However, it is up to the court’s discretion,” Poh said.
This is the second time Rosmah has filed an application, after Judge Mohamed Zaini – who is also presided over her solar hybrid trial – rejected her application to recuse himself from hearing the trial on Dec 14.
Rosmah filed the first application on the grounds of avoiding any possibility of bias if Judge Mohamed Zaini was to preside over the money laundering case against her because the same judge also presided over her corruption case involving a solar hybrid project in Sarawak.
In the second application, Rosmah, among others, claimed that the prosecution’s move to tender her cautioned statement could directly or indirectly influence Judge Mohamed Zaini if he was to preside over the money laundering case.
Rosmah also applied against Judge Mohamed Zaini’s decision dismissing her application for the judge to recuse himself from presiding over the cases and the appeal was set for case management before the Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal on March 23.
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.
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 the IRB at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2018.