Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has failed in his attempt to challenge the appointment of former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from heading the prosecutors in the cases against him.
Justice Azizah Nawawi dismissed the judicial review by Najib, and a similar one by his lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who also faces prosecution at the hands of Sri Ram.
The Civil High Court dismissed the application as the Criminal High Court was also hearing a similar application by the two accused persons.
Justice Azizah made a decision in chambers, saying that though both courts have concurrent jurisdiction, it was a matter of convenience that it only be heard in the criminal court, where the main trial was being heard.
The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) represented by Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan had argued that there was overlap in the application, as Najib and Muhammad Shafee filed similar applications at the Criminal Court here and cited the same grounds.
Shafee’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh argued that the two applications were different as the issue before the Civil Court was on whether the appointment of Sri Ram by the Attorney General’s Chambers as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor was legitimate.
Meanwhile, the issue at the High Court was an application to recuse Sri Ram from handling the cases.
Najib and Muhammad Shafee separately filed for judicial review in December last year, seeking an order to disqualify the AGC’s decision not to submit to them a copy of Sri Ram’s appointment letter.
They also applied for a court order to force the AGC to disclose to them a copy of the letter.
In addition, they sought to revoke or recuse the appointment of Sri Ram on grounds that it was ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the public prosecutor, and sought a declaration that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment.
They also requested an order to prohibit Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in all their cases, including on corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.