Najib, lawyer’s bids to stop Sri Ram from prosecuting 1MDB cases fail

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PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has dismissed former prime minister Najib Razak and his lawyer Shafee Abdullah’s bids to stop Gopal Sri Ram from prosecuting their 1MDB-related cases.

Previously, both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had dismissed Najib and Shafee’s legal challenges to stop Sri Ram from prosecuting the cases.

They had claimed that Sri Ram’s appointment was a conflict of interest.

However, the lower courts had held that Sri Ram was “more than qualified” to prosecute the 1MDB-related cases.

Today, Federal Court judge Zawawi Salleh, leading a three-member panel, said Najib and Shafee’s leave applications to appeal the lower court’s decision did not meet the legal requirements under the Courts of Judicature Act.

“The leave questions proposed by both applicants have been previously decided in Anwar Ibrahim’s case,” he said, alluding to Anwar’s previous court action to remove Shafee in his Sodomy 2 appeal.

“As the law is settled, there is no reason to depart from that.”

The court made no order to cost.

The other Federal Court judges who sat with Zawawi were Vernon Ong and Nallini Pathmanathan.

Sri Ram, a former judge, is leading the prosecution team in the 1MDB case where Najib is standing trial on 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power amounting to RM2.28 billion.

He is also spearheading the prosecution in the 1MDB audit report case, where Najib is accused of abusing his powers in causing amendments to the report’s finalised version before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of abetting Najib.

Shafee, meanwhile, is on trial on four charges of money laundering amounting to RM9.5 million he allegedly received from Najib in 2013 and 2014.

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