Ex-Malaysian PM Najib’s wife Rosmah withdraws appeal to recuse judge from her money laundering trial

Rosmah Mansor did not want Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan as her trial judge, claiming that he will be biased against her. PHOTO: AFP

The wife of former Malaysian premier Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor, has withdrawn her appeal to recuse a High Court judge from hearing her money laundering and tax evasion case.

Rosmah’s defence team filed a notice of discontinuance on March 1, two weeks before her March 17 hearing of the appeal at the Court of Appeal.

According to news site Free Malaysia Today, the appeals court was scheduled to find out whether it had jurisdiction to hear Rosmah’s appeal and recuse High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over the case, which involved 17 counts of money laundering and tax evasion.

Rosmah, 70, did not want Justice Zaini as her trial judge, claiming he would be biased against her as he had found her guilty of corruption in an earlier case.

In September last year, Justice Zaini handed Rosmah a 10-year jail sentence and a RM970 million (S$291.6 million) fine in a corruption case over a solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Rosmah’s lawyer Geethan Ram Vincent told the Malaysian media on Friday that the appeal was discontinued as the High Court judge would no longer be presiding over the trial after his elevation to the Court of Appeal in January.

Rosmah is facing 12 charges of money laundering amounting to RM7 million and five charges of failing to declare her income to the Malaysian tax agency, the Inland Revenue Board.

She is accused of committing the offences between Dec 4, 2013 and June 8, 2017.

Malaysian media reported that Justice K. Muniandy will now preside over the trial, which will take place on May 12.

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