Najib seeking to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram, strike out the charges.
The High Court has fixed a three-week trial from April 15 to hear Najib Razak’s 21 money laundering charges and four charges of power abuse linked to 1MDB.
Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah fixed the date after the case was mentioned for the first time before him today.
Najib was initially charged before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi on Sept 20 but he applied for the case to be transferred to the High Court.
Ad-hoc senior deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told Sequerah that the prosecution was expected to take three weeks to complete its case and that includes time to cross-examine witnesses.
“We have 52 witnesses on the list but not all will be called,” he told the court.
During the 30-minute proceeding, the court re-read Najib’s corruption charges and Najib merely nodded his head.
He pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to all charges.
Najib’s lead defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said he would be filing an application to disqualify Sri Ram as prosecutor.
“We will file the application in the High Court next week,” he said.
Speaking to reporters later, Shafee said the defence wanted to recuse Sri Ram because he was “totally in conflict of interest”.
Najib will also apply to strike out the 25 corruption charges against him over the RM2.3 billion which allegedly originated from 1MDB.
The former prime minister also will seek to disqualify lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from the case by the end of this month.
“We are contemplating striking out the charges but we cannot disclose the reasons for now,” said Shafee.
On Sept 20, Najib, who is the Pekan member of parliament, was charged with 25 corruption charges at the Sessions Court involving RM2.3 billion allegedly from 1MDB.
He is facing four counts of corruption in which he is alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion and 21 charges of money laundering of a similar amount.
The money-laundering charges include nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.
Najib, 64, is said to have received and used the illegal money during his term of office between 2011 and 2014.
All the offences allegedly occurred at AmIslamic Bank Bhd’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch in Bukit Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur, between Feb 24, 2011, and Dec 19, 2014.