Lokman Adam Fails to Set Aside AG’s Move to Cite Him for Contempt

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Lokman allegedly intimidated a witness in Najib’s 1MDB case.

The High Court today dismissed an application by Lokman Nor Adam to set aside leave obtained by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to cite the Umno Supreme Council member for contempt of court for allegedly intimidating a witness in Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.

The witness is Najib’s former special officer, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who is one of the key witnesses in the case.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said the attorney-general’s affidavit to explain why Lokman should be cited for showing disrespect to the court was not ambiguous.

“The AG’s statement in the affidavit to the respondent was clear,” he said.

“In fact, the act was consistent with the video interview and the lodging of the police report against the eighth prosecution witness (Amhari),” he said.

Sequerah also ruled that outside parties apart from the court could also issue show cause to a person for alleged contempt.

“Therefore, the court dismisses the respondent’s application to set aside the leave,” he said.

During previous proceedings, Lokman’s counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that the Notice to Show Cause was issued by Legal and Prosecution Division, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters to his client.

Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali/NST

However, he said the body has no power nor jurisdiction to do so and only the court has the power and jurisdiction to issue the notice and to call for the respondent to provide an explanation on the alleged contemptuous action.

Sequerah set March 13 to hear the committal proceedings and February 21 has been fixed for case management.

The judge also dismissed Shafee’s request to stay the proceedings pending an appeal against today’s decision to the Court of Appeal.

Shafee told the court that he would file a certificate of urgency for the Court of Appeal to hear the appeal expeditiously.

On October 22, last year, Sequerah granted leave for the AG to initiate committal proceedings against Lokman for contempt of court acts perpetrated on two occasions on September 25, last year.

In the application, the AG sought an order for Lokman to be committed to prison or be fined for his actions.

The AG said that on that date (September 25) the respondent (Lokman) in a video interview uttered words constituting an express or implied threat against Amhari, who was the special officer to Najib, for having given evidence against the accused in the criminal trial of public prosecutor against the former prime minister at the High Court.

The AG said he would play the said video recording at the hearing of the application for leave and at the hearing of the substantive motion in the event leave is granted.

He said on the same day, Lokman lodged the police report against Amhari in respect of the evidence given by him at Najib’s ongoing criminal trial.

The object or purpose of the respondent’s said actions was to harass and intimidate Amhari, other witnesses and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence against the accused in the trial, said the AG.

Last week, ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram submitted Lokman’s comments about Amhari were not only tantamount to threatening the witness or other potential witnesses, but also an act of undermining the administration of justice.