Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah – who has been slapped with two counts of receiving money from illegal activities amounting to RM9.5 million from former prime minister Najib Razak and two counts of making incorrect filings to the Inland Revenue Board – is seeking that retired Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram recuses himself from leading the prosecution team in his case.
Speaking from the accused’s dock Shafee informed Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi that he would file a formal application to disqualify Gopal from conducting his case as the latter is currently representing Anwar Ibrahim at the Court of Appeal in the civil case pertaining to the same RM9.5 million issue.
“The reason why I am speaking up now is because I do not want to be accused of having an afterthought. I do not want him (Gopal) to be in any way involved in this case,” he said adding that Gopal could not act independently in that capacity as he has an agenda.
Shafee also revealed in court that he had a history with Gopal, in the sense that they did not have a pleasant relationship.
“We do not have a very pleasant relationship. We pretend to be civil to each other in court ... lukewarm at best,” he said adding that it started in late 1970s pertaining to cases in court.
Gopal then stood up and replied: “I await the application”.
Earlier the court allowed Shafee to be released on RM1 million bail with two sureties and ordered for his two passports to be surrendered to the court until the disposal of his case and set Oct 2 for mention.
On Aug 31, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had announced Gopal’s appointment as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor to handle the entire process of prosecution over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) affair.
In his media statement, Thomas said the appointment was made pursuant to Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code as Gopal had substantial experience in criminal law matters and he would act on a “pro bono basis”.