Najib's wife Rosmah files application to disqualify High Court judge in her corruption trial

Rosmah Mansor's case involves a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project in Sarawak. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The wife of jailed former Malaysian prime minster Najib Razak, who is fighting her own corruption case, has filed an application to disqualify High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her trial.

Rosmah Mansor's case involves a RM1.25 billion (S$390 million) solar hybrid project for schools in Sarawak.

The judge is scheduled to deliver his decision at the end of the defence's case on Thursday (Sept 1) morning.

The eleventh-hour application was filed through Messrs Akberdin & Co on Tuesday afternoon.

In her notice of motion, Rosmah said on Aug 26, she had come across an article by Raja Petra Kamaruddin titled Rosmah Mansor Will Be Pronounced Guilty On 1st September 2022.

She said she was shocked to have read the article which stated that the judgment against her was ready and that it was not prepared by the judge himself but rather prepared on his behalf.

Earlier she failed in her latest bid to disqualify Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution in the same case.

Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, in his decision, said Rosmah's leave application was not seeking the court to review a decision of an inferior court nor a decision in relation to the exercise of the public duty or function.

"I observe that the instant application is unprecedented in the context of the Malaysian judiciary where a party is actually seeking a High Court to judicial review the decision of another High Court," he said.

The court ruled that it was not necessary to deal with the merits of the application.

"This court has no jurisdiction to grant leave to hear the substantive judicial review application.

"The applicant's application for leave to commence judicial review proceedings is hereby dismissed," he said in the decision, which was delivered via email.

On Sept 24, 2021, High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, the presiding judge in Rosmah's solar hybrid trial, dismissed Rosmah's application to disqualify Mr Sri Ram.

He ruled that Mr Sri Ram's appointment by then Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas was valid under Section 376(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Rosmah appealed the decision but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Dec 6, 2021.

On May 27, the Federal Court ruled that Mr Sri Ram was qualified to prosecute Rosmah in the solar hybrid project trial.

Rosmah is facing one charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin through her former special officer Datuk Rizal Mansor.

It was alleged to be an inducement to help the company secure the solar hybrid project.

If convicted, she could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined up to five times the amount of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

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