Sulaiman and Sri Ram Appointments in Najib Case No Secret

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Najib’s lead counsel Shafee unhappy over DPP’s appointment classified as ‘official secret’ and demands written proof.

A senior lawyer and former deputy public prosecutor (DPP) has questioned the secrecy behind the appointments of Sulaiman Abdullah and Gopal Sri Ram as ad-hoc prosecutors in the upcoming trial of Najib Razak, saying it was wrong to invoke the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“Nothing secret about it and it does not concern national security,” Manjeet Singh Dhillon told FMT.

His comments were in response to Najib’s defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah asking Sulaiman to produce his licence during a proceeding before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali yesterday.

Shafee said the defence wanted a copy of the appointment letter to ascertain whether it (appointment) was made under Section 376, 377 or 379 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Sulaiman was picked by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to prosecute Najib over the RM42 million found in the ex-prime minister’s private bank account.

Thomas had previously recused himself from the prosecution to avoid any potential taint of conflict of interest.

However, Sulaiman refused the request, saying his letter of appointment is confidential and has been categorised under the OSA.

“I refuse to adhere, and not because I don’t have it, but because it’s stamped Official Secret,” he told the court, adding that he did not want to breach his appointment as a prosecutor.

Shafee slammed Sulaiman for answering that his appointment was stamped by the Attorney-General (A-G) as an “official secret”, saying that the public has the right to know how he is appointed.

He added that it was standard court procedure for the court to be informed on the appointment.

“When I was appointed as the DPP in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (sodomy appeal) case, Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, who was my assistant gave the fiat (authorisation) document to the court and a copy to the other side (defence) to say how I was appointed.

“You say the New Malaysia is supposed to be transparent. But according to him, the Attorney-General has chopped it as an official secret.

“Why is the appointment of a DPP an official secret when all the rest of the DPPs in the Attorney-General Chambers are gazetted for the whole world to know?” he questioned.

Manjeet said a lawyer or a judge was perfectly entitled to ask an ad-hoc prosecutor to produce the licence (fiat).

“It is like a lawyer’s practising certificate and one is entitled to ask for it to be produced in court,” he said.

Manjeet said ad hoc DPP’s were public servants and their appointments were not a state secret.

“Their appointments were made public and the details need not be hidden,” he said.

Manjeet hoped Sulaiman and Sri Ram would produce their appointment letters.