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AGC objects applications by Najib, Shafee to challenge Sri Ram's appointment

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 10): The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has objected to the applications for leave by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to recuse former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who has been appointed senior deputy public prosecutor, from heading the prosecution team in their cases.

Muhammad Shafee, who is also representing Najib, told reporters this after proceeding of the matter in the chambers of High Court Judge (Appellate and Special Powers Division) Datuk Azizah Nawawi, which was also attended by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, representing Muhammad Shafee, and senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who acted on behalf of the AGC.

Muhammad Shafee said the AGC submitted a preliminary objection because of overlapping applications on the same issue by him and Najib.

"The preliminary objection was made because there was overlapping proceeding today with the applications that we filed at the Criminal High Court (to recuse Sri Ram from heading the prosecution team),” he said, adding that the court fixed Jan 29 to hear the AGC’s preliminary objection.

On the filing of the judicial review to quash Sri Ram’s appointment, Muhammad Shafee explained that he and Najib had filed separate applications, but the grounds given were the same.

Muhammad Shafee said the applications were submitted on grounds that Sri Ram could not be appointed to head the prosecution team when he still acted as a lawyer.

"It is different from the appointment of Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah (who was appointed deputy senior public prosecutor in Najib’s case involving SRC International Sdn Bhd) and my appointment as public prosecutor when handling Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy case,” he added.

Meanwhile, Harvinderjit Singh said his client would be denied a fair trial if Sri Ram led the prosecution team.

Najib and Muhammad Shafee filed the applications for the judicial review last month and named the Attorney-General/Public Prosecutor as the first respondent and the Malaysian government and Sri Ram as the second and third respondent, respectively.

In their applications, Najib and Muhammad Shafee are seeking an order to revoke the decision of the first respondent for not providing them a copy of Sri Ram’s appointment to head the prosecution team in their respective cases.

They are also seeking an order to revoke Sri Ram’s appointment on grounds that the appointment letter was not valid, and a declaration that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment.

They are also seeking an or order to prevent Sri Ram from continuing to head the prosecution team in the cases facing them.

Najib is facing charges for corruption and money laundering involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, while Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is facing two counts of receiving proceeds from unlawful activities  amounting to RM9.5 million from Najib and two counts of making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

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