KUALA LUMPUR (April 25): Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has failed in his second attempt to challenge High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from presiding over his money laundering and tax evasion case.
Judge Zaini, in rejecting the request on Monday (April 25), said Rosmah’s second request was similar to the first, which he rejected on December 14.
“[This application] is considerably based on the first application. Namely, the fact that I am the presiding judge in the solar case. The plaintiff, however, has now sought to include two other cases which I presided over – the confiscation case of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the audit of 1MDB [report tampering] Case.
“What the applicant has done by including these two additional cases is to add more color to its claim. In substance, however, the grounds relied upon are similar to those [previous application] regarding my involvement and the decisions made in these cases,” the judge explained.
Judge Zaini said those cases should have been included in the first recusal request if Rosmah felt they were relevant to her claim, because she already knew about them.
“The public interest requires that there be finality to litigation, in the sense that parties should not be allowed to litigate the same issues over and over again,” the judge added.
Nonetheless, Rosmah’s lawyers requested a stay of the claim as she intends to appeal the decision, which Judge Zaini granted.
As such, the trial date for the start of Rosmah’s tax evasion and money laundering case this Thursday has been canceled.
During the March 2 submissions for Rosmah’s second attempt to challenge Judge Zaini, the defense argued that there was a risk of bias with Judge Zaini presiding over the case, given that he had presided over other cases involving Rosmah and that it might sway his mind in the current case.
The lawyers were referring to Rosmah’s ongoing RM1.25 billion solar hybrid transplant lawsuit and 1MDB audit report tampering lawsuit involving her husband, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Judge Zaini also heard the 1MDB forfeiture case involving Rosmah, Najib and several members of his family, which Rosmah also cited as a case in support of his recusal claim.
In his response to the defense argument, Deputy Attorney General Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram argued that the application was “fatally flawed” and constituted an abuse of process as it was similar to the first denied application.
Delivering his decision on Monday, Judge Zaini also said he was “perplexed” that the 1MDB forfeiture case was cited as he had dismissed the case against Rosmah and her family. As for the trial of falsification of the audit report, he added that the case did not concern Rosmah at all.
In his tax evasion and money laundering case, Rosmah faces 17 charges involving RM7.1 million allegedly transferred to his personal bank account between 2013 and 2017. The charges were brought under the fight against money laundering, financing of the fight against terrorism and illegal products. Business Act 2001.
Under the first eight counts, she is charged with being involved in money laundering by directly engaging in a transaction involving proceeds of illegal activities in the amount of RM1.1 million which were deposited in his account.
For the ninth to 12th charge, Rosmah allegedly directly participated in 227 transactions involving proceeds of illegal activities totaling RM6 million, which were also deposited into his account.
On counts 13 to 17, she is charged with engaging in money laundering by failing to produce a return of the sum which has been deposited in her account as required by the Income Tax Act 1967 Income.
Meanwhile, the court also set May 24 to handle the case of Rosmah’s request to recuse former Federal Court Judge Sri Ram from prosecuting the case. She filed for the recusal in January of this year.
March 21 set for decision on Rosmah’s second bid to recuse the judge
Rosmah fails to remove judge over money laundering and income tax case, trial to start Jan. 12