KUALA LUMPUR — Aug. 31, 2018: Senior lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah has been appointed to lead the prosecution team in criminal proceedings against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that is scheduled to begin on February 12.
In a media statement today, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas also announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, a retired Federal Court judge, as senior deputy public prosecutor to handle the prosecution of 1Malaysia Development Berhad issues.
“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,” he said.
On Sulaiman, the AG had this to say: “His eloquence is unmatched and his intellect second to none. Datuk Sulaiman has impeccable integrity and is a principled lawyer. Datuk Sulaiman is content to provide his services to the nation on a pro bono basis.”
Thomas explained that having been in office for nearly three months and experiencing first hand the demands of the offices of the AG and public prosecutor, he had come to the realisation that he could not combine these onerous commitments with the simultaneous preparation and conduct of a seven-week trial in Najib’s case.
He noted that a trial of this importance and complexity required 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. Accordingly, in the exercise of my discretion under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), I have appointed Datuk Haji Sulaiman Abdullah to lead the prosecution in Public Prosecutor v Najib Razak.”
On the 1MDB case, Thomas said it was public knowledge that the investigation papers (IPs) into the fraudulent deals have not been submitted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the police, except one IP concerning Jho Low, which resulted in charges and the issue of warrants of arrest against him and his father last week.
“In order to spearhead this entire process, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as senior DPP 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 1MDB. Datuk Seri Sri Ram has also waived his fees,” said Thomas. — Bernama