Apandi says Sri Ram never explained the evidence against Najib

(FMT) – Mohamed Apandi Ali today said Gopal Sri Ram had never explained what evidence there was in the public domain against Najib Razak when Sri Ram had pushed to have the former prime minister arrested and charged.

Apandi, who was attorney-general at the time, made further allegations against Sri Ram in an affidavit filed to support a suit to remove Sri Ram as a prosecutor in Najib’s criminal trial.

Apandi said Sri Ram, a prominent senior lawyer and former judge, had “used the term ‘public domain’ loosely” when they met in 2018 as he did not dare enter into the real subject of their conversation.

Sri Ram had said on Tuesday that he had advised Apandi of evidence in the public domain against Najib, and that it was Apandi’s duty to have Najib arrested and charged.

He also admitted to meeting Apandi at Apandi’s home in January 2018. He alleged that Apandi and his wife Faridah Begum KA Abdul Kader, had been the target of cybertroopers who suggested that Apandi was disloyal, incompetent and had abused his power.

But Apandi denied this, adding that he was appalled with Sri Ram’s “creation of this narrative”.

He also said he found it interesting that Sri Ram inconsistently claimed that he and his wife were attacked by cybertroopers on Najib’s payroll, while at the same time claiming that Apandi had favoured Najib in deciding on the latter’s case.

“I think Sri Ram created this story only from my remark in a Facebook posting that I was under attack from cybertroopers from both sides of the divide, but this narrative was never the subject of any discussion at the fateful meeting.

“I certainly did not accuse the applicant’s (Najib’s) cybertroopers of attacking me,” he said in the affidavit, sighted by FMT.

Apandi also said that Sri Ram had not given up urging him to charge Najib in spite of the fact that his days as the AG “were numbered”.

Apandi said that based on WhatsApp messages between him and Sri Ram, the latter was comfortable with him and was therefore “courageous enough to make unthinkable suggestions to me regarding the arrest and charging” of Najib.

He also claimed that Sri Ram had more insight into his tenure as the AG than what was disclosed. Apandi noted that Sri Ram said he wished that Apandi had followed his advice and charged Najib.

“This end message by Sri Ram was a reminder by him and perhaps even his regret that I could have saved myself and continued to be the AG if only I had followed the advice that he carried from Tun Mahathir to arrest and charge Najib,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Last month, in an earlier affidavit, Apandi had claimed that Sri Ram had told him in January that the arrest order for Najib came from Mahathir, who was then opposition leader.

“Based on the WhatsApp conversation between Sri Ram and myself after the fateful meeting, I believe I was removed as the AG on the 4th of June 2018 for not abiding to their request.”

AG’s wife says Sri Ram asked for Najib’s arrest

In a separate affidavit, Apandi’s wife Faridah Begum backed her husband’s claims about Sri Ram, stating that Sri Ram had said “out of the blue” that Mahathir had sent him to see her husband.

She said Sri Ram’s statement came as a shock to her husband and her.

Faridah said Sri Ram had stated that Mahathir wanted Apandi to arrest Najib and that Sri Ram had arranged everything, including for police in Putrajaya to act on his instruction.

“Tan Sri Apandi then asked Sri Ram on what charge should Datuk Seri Najib be arrested for, at which Sri Ram replied ‘look, it doesn’t matter what you arrest him for. The people are angry and frustrated. Just arresting him will make them happy. Leave the rest to me’.”

She also said that Sri Ram reminded Apandi to think about it and to get back to him.

Faridah also gave an account of the close family relationships between Sri Ram and her family, describing his visits to her family’s shop at Ampang Park, dinners at their home with her parents and family, and his praise of the special vegetarian meals her father cooked for him.

Apandi was appointed as AG on Najib’s advice in July 2015, a position he held until Pakatan Harapan came into power in May 2018, upon which he was sacked.

In January 2018, he cleared Najib of any wrongdoing related to the 1MDB funds in his accounts.