The lawyers claimed that Sri Ram’s appointment was illegal, irregular and defective, arguing that it was not in accordance with the law.
Lawyers representing Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in her corruption trial were today engaged in a fiery submission questioning former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram’s appointment as senior prosecutor in the trial against her.
Her lawyers, Datuk Jagjit Singh and Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader, accused the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) of shifting the goalpost several times whenever the issue of Sri Ram’s appointment as the lead prosecutor in Rosmah’s case was raised.
The senior lawyers also claimed that Sri Ram’s appointment was illegal, irregular and defective, arguing that it was not in accordance with the law.
“He has no legal authority or locus standi to appear in this trial,” Jagjit argued, pointing out that former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas had specifically given a Letter of Appointment (LOA) for Sri Ram to handle only 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) related cases and the personalities involved in defrauding the investment fund.
Rosmah’s case, he contended, had nothing to do with 1MDB but involved a project to supply solar hybrid energy to rural schools in Sarawak.
During proceedings at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Sri Ram told the court that the new appointment letter, dated May 21 this year, was signed by current Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
He explained that the letter, taking effect from Aug 30, 2018, grants him the authority to conduct prosecution of Rosmah’s solar corruption case.
Today was initially set for hearing of the related application, namely Rosmah’s bid to nullify her corruption trial linked to the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
The crux of Rosmah’s application to nullify her corruption trial hinged on the validity of Sri Ram’s letter of appointment for him to prosecute her case.
In the letter, Idrus said Sri Ram could exercise all rights and powers vested in him (Idrus) under the CPC or any written laws, and specifically conduct Rosmah’s trials and other related matters.
Rosmah’s legal team argued that the former federal court judge had a vested interest in the matter among others.
“Idrus cannot issue a backdated letter when he was not the AG then,” Jagjit said in his submission to disqualify Sri Ram from prosecuting Rosmah’s case and declare her trial a nullity.
Jagjit said Idrus was a Court of Appeal judge on Aug 30, 2018, and was appointed AG on March 6, 2020.
“Based on the letter issued (on May 21), the trial is nullity,” he said.
Jagjit said Idrus’ predecessor Thomas had even issued a press statement that he appointed Sri Ram as a senior DPP effective Aug 30, 2018.
In an affidavit, Thomas said as AG he was also the public prosecutor under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution and Section 376(1) of the CPC.
Thomas said that on Aug 30, 2018, he appointed Sri Ram as senior DPP to handle prosecutions relating to what has come to be known as the “1MDB scandals”.
Jagit said Idrus’ recent letter (May 21) and another issued on July 8 last year were just afterthoughts.
He said Rosmah was first charged in the sessions court in November 2018 before her cases were transferred to the High Court.
“The Aug 30 letter by Thomas was not available to the defence as it was a classified document,” said Jagjit, who is assisted by Akberdin Abdul Kader and Azrul Zulkifli Stork.
However, Zaini dismissed the preliminary objection and allowed Sri Ram to be part of the application hearing today.
Rosmah had filed an application to disqualify Sri Ram and also nullify her RM1.25 billion corruption trial over the solar hybrid project due to issues involving the latter’s appointment as the lead prosecutor against her.
On Feb 18, Zaini had ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on her corruption charges and the trial is set to proceed after her applications are heard.
The court has tentatively fixed Oct 5, 6, 7, 21, 28 and Nov 15 for Rosmah – who was not present in court today – to enter her defence.
Hearing of her application to nullify her solar graft trial will resume before Zaini on Thursday this week, with her legal team expected to wrap up their submission before the prosecution gets to counter-submit to maintain the case against her.