1MDB audit report: Najib wants to disqualify Sri Ram as lead prosecutor

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today filed an application to disqualify former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in his trial over alleged tampering of the Auditor-General’s audit report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the media that the application was supported by two affidavits, filed by Najib and former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

“We served the application on the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) today in the early afternoon. Next Monday was fixed for the trial before High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan but we will insist the court hears our application first as it affects the integrity of the trial process,” said Muhammad Shafee.

The application was filed after Mohamed Apandi, on June 10, posted on Facebook alleging that Sri Ram had met him in January 2018 and claiming that Sri Ram had allegedly conveyed a message for Najib to be arrested.

Najib, 67, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him, while 1MDB’s former chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to action.

Both of them were charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

So far, seven prosecution witnesses have testified, including former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

— BERNAMA

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