PUTRAJAYA, Nov 22 — The prosecution and defence teams need to file further submissions as to whether the Court of Appeal has the jurisdiction to hear two appeals by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, to remove High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her money laundering and tax evasion case.
Rosmah, the wife of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak appealed against two decisions by Judge Mohamed Zaini who had dismissed Rosmah’s first application on December 14, 2021, and her second on April 25, this year.
A three-member bench led by Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah said the panel had read the written submissions filed by both parties and the court was of the view that there is a preliminary point on the jurisdiction issue that should be heard first.
“It is in relation to whether the matter before us is appealable under Section 3 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 (COJA) read together with Section 51 of Coja.
“So, the court gives both parties a month to file their further written submissions on that point,” said Justice Hanipah who sat with Justices Datuk Wira Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Datuk Nordin Hassan.
Section 3 of Coja states that the term “decision” means judgement, sentence or order made by the High Court, but does not include any ruling made in the course of a trial or hearing of any cause or matter which does not finally dispose of the rights of the parties.
Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Poh Yih Tinn told reporters that the appeals will be fixed for case management on December 23, pending the filing of further submissions.
Lawyers Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent and Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, representing Rosmah, were present in court today.
In her recusal application, Rosmah, among others, stated that the reason is to avoid any possibility of Judge Mohamed Zaini being prejudiced and biased against her if he presided over the money laundering case, given that he had presided over her solar hybrid graft trial, related to rural schools in Sarawak.
Rosmah, 70, is facing 12 money laundering charges, involving RM7,097,750, and five counts of failure to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.
The offences were allegedly committed at Affin Bank Berhad, Bangunan Getah Asli branch, Jalan Ampang, here, between December 4, 2013 and June 8, 2017, and the LHDN at Kompleks Bangunan Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, here, between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2018.
Meanwhile, the money laundering and tax evasion case is set for case management on November 29, before Judge Mohamed Zaini.
On September 1, Judge Mohamed Zaini found Rosmah guilty of three charges of corruption related to the solar hybrid project worth RM1.25 billion for 369 rural schools in Sarawak and sentenced her to 10 years in prison and imposed a fine of RM970 million.
The court also ordered Rosmah to be jailed for 30 years if she fails to pay the fine. However, the High Court granted a stay of execution of the prison sentence and fine pending her appeal at the Court of Appeal.