KUALA LUMPUR: Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan’s involvement in several criminal cases related to family members of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor could have swayed the judge’s mind in his $7 million money laundering and tax evasion trial RM, his legal team said.
Her lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin said the judge is presiding over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit tampering trial where her husband Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy are accused.
Firoz added that the judge also presided over 1MDB’s forfeiture action involving Rosmah, Najib and their children, Rosmah’s solar hybrid project trial as well as the current money laundering case.
He went on to say that Judge Mohamed Zaini had heard testimony from Rosmah and the same witnesses as in the money laundering case and had even ruled that there was a prima facie case against Rosmah in the money laundering case. solar hybrid.
“It could only mean that there would be a real danger or likelihood that Your Lordship was influenced by the evidence in these cases, which would inevitably lead Your Lordship to prejudge or predetermine the issues in these proceedings in with regard to the applicant (Rosmah)”, he said on Wednesday March 2 during a public hearing.
Firoz added that the extensive nature of the evidence heard by the court would inevitably make it difficult for the judge to rule on trial issues with an independent and fair mind.
“It is pertinent to recognize and accept that ‘human frailty’ is an important factor to consider even when dealing with those who are trained to be independent and impartial, because a judge is human after all” , said Firoz.
He then said that the judge would not only risk being biased in presiding over the case, because he would accumulate more superfluous information which would color the mind of the judge, adding that it would seem to a lay observer that the judge was incapable to maintain its independence and impartiality. as required of him.
Firoz said his client, Rosmah, was unconvinced she would get a fair trial if the case continued to be heard by Judge Mohamed Zaini.
“The defendant shall enjoy a fair trial, which is decided independently, without being affected by how the defendant is portrayed in the public eye and without importing Your Lordship’s previous decision into others business,” Firoz said.
“We submit that Your Lordship should be recused or recuse yourself from the money laundering case,” he added.
Meanwhile, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said in his brief that Rosmah’s request was an abuse of court process as it was a repeat attempt of what had already been filed.
“Your Lordship had already decided on the previous request to recuse you on December 14 last year,” Sri Ram said.
He added that the findings should have prevented the claimant from making repeat claims.
However, Firoz responded that the current request was entirely different from the previous request and based on different grounds.
After hearing the arguments, Judge Mohamed Zaini said he needed time to deliberate and set 2 p.m. on March 21 to deliver his decision.
On January 11, Rosmah filed a second application to recuse the judge from presiding over his trial for money laundering and tax evasion of RM7 million.
On December 14 last year, Judge Mohamed Zaini, who is also the same judge in Rosmah’s solar hybrid trial, rejected Rosmah’s request to recuse him from hearing the money laundering case. money and tax evasion on the grounds that Rosmah’s claims that she would be “seriously harmed”. in the case was unfounded.
In the money laundering and tax evasion case, Rosmah faces 12 charges of money laundering amounting to around RM7 million and five counts of failing to report his income to the Inland Revenue Board.
In the solar hybrid lawsuit, which is at the defense stage, Rosmah is charged with soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes totaling RM6.5 million from from former Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin through his former assistant Datuk. Rizal Mansor, involving the RM1.25bil solar hybrid project in Sarawak.