Sri Ram stays on as Rosmah’s prosecutor, as AGC concedes to produce his appointment letter

PUTRAJAYA : Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has successfully managed to obtain the employment letter of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, the lead prosecutor in her case, from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) today (April 8), ending an almost year-long appeal to verify the former federal court judge’s appointment.null

The document was produced in the Court of Appeal here during appeal proceedings where the former prime minister’s wife had asked the court to compel the AGC to produce Sri Ram’s appointment letter to them or have him disqualified from handling her case should they fail to do so.

“Yes we concede to the prayers within the application, we will supply the appointment letter to the applicants within the next three days,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said in court here.

He was answering to the three-man bench presiding over today’s case consisting of Court of Appeal judges Datuk Suraya Othman, Datuk Abu Bakar Jais, and newly installed judge Datuk Ghazali Cha.

Suraya had asked Akram if him submitting the appointment letter was equivalent to the prosecution conceding the appeal, to which Akram answered in the affirmative.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is pictured at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya April 8, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is pictured at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya April 8, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

However, the concession by the DPP did not come without resistance, with submissions earlier in the day seeing Akram maintaining the legality of Sri Ram’s appointment, and how the appellant is not authorised to view the document due to it containing confidential information, despite arguments by Rosmah’s lead lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh.

Akram had argued that Sri Ram’s employment letter not only contained his consignment orders related to Rosmah’s cases, and also of other cases he was assigned to handle, information the DPP argued was classified as an official secret.

To this, Suraya then implored Akram to reveal the full contents of the employment letter to the judges alone, allowing for them to evaluate if the document meets the requirements being sought by Rosmah.

Jagjit had told the court that he requires the document to state the date of Sri Ram’s appointment, which he said must be prior to November 15, 2018, the date when Rosmah’s was first charged in court, it must explain Sri Ram’s scope of appointment, and must be signed by the then-attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas.

Then when delivering their findings after having examined the employment letter, Suraya revealed the document supplied to them by Akram had failed to satisfy two out of the three requirements put forward by Jagjit.

“There were three requirements by the applicants to be satisfied, and from our observation of the document that was given, we are satisfied that the letter given did not satisfy two out of the three conditions.

“They are the date the letter was signed, which was not before or on November 15, 2018, when the applicant was charged, and the letter was not signed by the right honourable AG at that time, who was also the Public Prosecutor (PP), Tan Sri Tommy Thomas.

“There is no such letter. There was a letter pertaining to the appointment of Gopal Sri Ram to conduct the prosecution of the applicant’s case but the letter was dated on July 8, 2020, which is after the applicant was charged, and the letter was signed by the present AG and PP who is Tan Sri Idrus Harun,” Suraya said.

Following Suraya’s revelation, Akram eventually yielded to the requests to produce the employment letter, only after Jagjit had argued that they should be allowed to peruse the appointment letter since their requirements were not met.

However, Akram did tell the court that some information deemed irrelevant to Rosmah’s case will be blanked out from the document before it is handed over.

“We will supply them with the letter but we will ‘blank-o’ out whatever information is that is not related to this case,” said Akram.

To this Suraya then formally ruled that the application was allowed.

“With that, we allow the appeal, with the concession from the AGC. Any other matters and whatever submissions pertaining to the consequential effects of this appeal will have to be done by way of a proper notice to the court.

“This matter ends here; appeal allowed: DPP conceded to both prayers,” said Suraya before adjourning the hearing.

When speaking to reporters, Jagjit maintained that the application was done not to distinguish between winners and losers, but to correctly establish if Sri Ram was authorised to lead the prosecution in her case.

“It’s not a question of victory, we are looking at the interest of justice, and justice, as we said, is not only for the state; it’s also for the accused person.

“She is facing three charges, surely she should know whether the person who is going to appear for the prosecution has been duly authorised, that’s all” he said.

Jagjit added they would deliberate with Rosmah to strategise their next course of action, and whether any additional appeals would be filed by them.

Today’s appeal comes following its dismissal at the High Court in August last year when judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan had said there was no merit to Rosmah’s assertion of Sri Ram needing a formal letter of appointment from the AGC before he could lead the prosecution.

Zaini had ruled that the AG’s declaration sufficed to verify Sri Ram’s position and a written letter was not needed unless there was evidence that then AG Thomas had not made the appointment.

In this trial, Rosmah, 69, was charged and has been called to enter her defence for soliciting a RM187.5 million bribe out of a total of RM1.25 billion project that was awarded to then Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin between January to April 2016 through her aide Datuk Rizal Mansor.

She was also charged for receiving a total of RM6.5 million — RM1.5 million and RM5 million from Saidi between December 20, 2016 and September 7, 2017 at her official residence in Seri Perdana, Putrajaya and also her private residence in Jalan Langgak Duta.

By : EMMANUEL SANTA MARIA CHIN – MALAY MAIL

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