AG steps aside from Najib's case; Sulaiman, Sri Ram to take over


KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas has stepped aside as lead prosecutor in the criminal case against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He will be replaced as lead prosecutor by Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah and assisted by retired Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Sri Ram.

Tommy explained that the move to step aside was due to his commitment, responsibility and demand to the office of the AG.

This, he said would prevent him from fully devoting to the case which would go to trial next year.

“ Having been in office for nearly three months and experiencing first hand the demands of the offices of the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor, coupled with the varied and multitasked requirements of the chief legal officer in a reforming administration, I have come to the realisation that I cannot combine these onerous

commitments with the simultaneous preparation and conduct of a 7 week trial in PP v. Najib Razak, fixed to commence on Feb 12, 2019 and completing on March 29, 2019,” he said in a statement today.

He will be replaced as lead prosecutor by Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah (pic) and assisted by retired Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Sri Ram. Pic by NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

Tommy said a trial of such importance and complexity requires the full-time attention of lead counsel, not just during the duration of the trial, but also in the months leading to the trial, followed by the preparation of detailed written submissions after the trial.

“Unfortunately, the demands of equally urgent and pressing matters of state do not permit me the time

required to focus on this prosecution,” he said.

Tommy said as such he had exercised his discretion under Section 379 of the Criminal Procedure Code and had appointed Datuk Haji Sulaiman Abdullah to lead the prosecution in the case.

“Datuk Sulaiman is one of the nation’s leading barristers, having substantial experience in criminal law, including white collar crime. His eloquence is unmatched, and his intellect second to none. Datuk Sulaiman has impeccable integrity, and is a principled lawyer.

Tommy adds that Sulaiman had agreed to waive all fees and will provide his services on a “pro bono” basis in the case.

He said it is public knowledge that the Investigation Papers (IP) into the numerous fraudulent deals connected to the 1MDB affair had not been submitted to the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) by the MACC and the police. The exception being one IP concerning Jho Low, which resulted in charges and the issue of warrants of arrest against him and his father last week.

He said upon receipt of the IPs from the investigating agencies, the AGC is required to study them, prepare

charges and prosecute the alleged accused at trials.

In order to spearhead this entire process, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor pursuant to Section 376 (3) of the CPC.

“Datuk Seri Sri Ram, a retired Federal Court Judge, has returned to active practice. He has substantial experience in criminal law matters. His strong and determined personality will no doubt enhance the investigation and prosecution in all matters pertaining to the 1MDB scandal.

Tommy adds that Sri Ram had also waived his fees and will act on a “pro bono” basis.

“ With the twin appointments of the leading lights in the Malaysian Bar, our commitment to prosecuting those responsible for the greatest kleptocracy in the history of the world with the gravity that it deserves, and that ordinary Malaysians expect, cannot be doubted. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd