Shafee fails to admit Apandi’s affidavit in bid to recuse Sri Ram

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The Court of Appeal today dismissed lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s application to include fresh evidence – an affidavit by former-attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali – in his bid to recuse Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in his trial.

The senior lawyer is facing charges of laundering RM9.5 million allegedly received from former prime minister Najib Razak in 2013 and 2014.

A three-member bench chaired by Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said the application was disallowed under Section 61 of the Courts of Judicature Act.

However, the bench, which also comprised Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, allowed Shafee’s application to introduce Sri Ram’s letter of appointment as ad-hoc prosecutor, as well as affidavits by ex-AG Tommy Thomas, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki and Sri Ram in a judicial review proceeding.

Last year, Najib filed an application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court in his ongoing 1MDB audit tampering case to disqualify Sri Ram, supported by two affidavits, one of which was by Apandi.

Apandi’s disclosure is in relation to a conversation between him and Sri Ram that took place at Apandi’s home in January 2018.

Shafee said that additional evidence was not available when the High Court in 2019 dismissed his application to disqualify Sri Ram, a former judge. On April 23, 2019, High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah ruled that he did not find any merit to suggest that Sri Ram was in conflict of interest or that he would be biased against Shafee.

Deputy public prosecutors Afzainizam Abdul, Mohamad Mustafa Kunyalam and Natasha Chin Le Jy appeared for the prosecution.

Lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, who represented Shafee, said a case management would be held for the Court of Appeal to hear his client’s appeal.

In September 2018, Shafee claimed trial to two counts of money laundering and two counts of making false statements involving RM9.5 million received from Najib.

The dates for the money laundering trial have yet to be fixed. – FMT