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Friday, April 9, 2021

Sri Ram stays in prosecution team in Rosmah’s graft trial


Rosmah Mansor will enter her defence in her corruption trial in early June. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Gopal Sri Ram will continue to lead the prosecution team when Rosmah Mansor enters her defence in her corruption trial in early June, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ahmad Akram Gharib said today.

He said there was no damage done after he conceded to produce a letter on Sri Ram’s appointment to Rosmah’s lawyers, who had appealed to the Court of Appeal bench on the matter.

“Sri Ram’s appointment as a DPP has been affirmed in a Federal Court ruling in 2019,” Akram told FMT today in response to the appellate court yesterday having observed that the document did not satisfy two of the three requirements that Rosmah’s lawyers had requested for.

Further, he said the prosecution would respond to whatever action Rosmah initiated in the High Court.

Gopal Sri Ram will remain in the prosecution team.

“Sri Ram’s appointment is intact. We will deal with whatever application she (Rosmah) files,” he said, adding that yesterday’s outcome in the Court of Appeal did not set aside a High Court ruling.

Judge Suraya Othman, who chaired the three-member bench, said the appointment letter was not dated on or before Nov 15, 2018, the day when Rosmah was charged in court and was not signed by the then attorney-general Tommy Thomas.

Instead, she said the letter was dated July 8 last year – 19 months after she was charged – and was signed by the current AG, Idrus Harun.

Akram had agreed to extend a copy of Sri Ram’s letter of appointment to lead the prosecution team by Monday. Rosmah’s lawyers had been seeking to view the letter but this had been denied by the High Court.

Last August, High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan dismissed an application by Rosmah to compel Sri Ram to produce his licence to prosecute her case.

Zaini said the appointment of Sri Ram was made by then AG (Thomas) and that there was no evidence to the contrary.

Rosmah’s defence team, which was led by lawyer Jagjit Singh, had earlier sought the court’s help to see when the appointment letter was dated, who signed it and whether the letter contained particulars pertaining to the charge against Rosmah.

Jagjit told reporters that when Rosmah was charged, there was no such letter of appointment for Sri Ram to act as senior DPP.

He said the conduct of Sri Ram throughout the case of the prosecution, in his view, was a nullity because he was never appointed.

“Now the issue for us is whether to apply for a retrial,” national news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.

Rosmah, 69, is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from former Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, through her then aide Rizal Mansor, as an inducement to help the company secure the solar project through direct negotiations with the education ministry.

She is also accused of two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM6.5 million from Saidi between 2016 and 2017.

The defence case has been scheduled to be heard on June 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22 and 23, and July 12 and 15.

Jagjit said the defence would call five or six witnesses. - FMT

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