PUTRAJAYA (March 7): Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants the Court of Appeal to suspend his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial pending his application to disqualify former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib (pictured) said Najib is seeking an order that Sri Ram be disqualified from continuing to act as a senior deputy public prosecutor and/or to appear on behalf of the public prosecutor in the 1MDB cases.

"However, the application was dismissed by Kuala Lumpur High Court last Friday (March 1). Najib subsequently filed an appeal application in Court of Appeal on the same day and asking for a stay," Ahmad Akram said.

He said the Court of Appeal Registrar Datuk Norsharidah Awang now fixed the matter for further case management on March 22 in chambers today while waiting for the High Court's grounds of judgment and records of appeal.

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Meanwhile, counsel Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee, who represented Najib, confirmed what Ahmad Akram said.

On Sept 20, 2018, Najib was charged with four counts under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and 21 counts of money laundering involving 1MDB funds, amounting to RM2.28 billion.

He was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon between 2011 and 2014.

On March 1, 2019, High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah dismissed the application by Najib to challenge the appointment of Sri Ram and concluded that there was no evidence to show that Sri Ram would be acting in a biased manner as senior deputy public prosecutor in handling the case.

The judge also refused to grant Najib's application to stay the trial which was scheduled to commence on April 15 to May 3.

— theedgemarkets.com

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