KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam yesterday failed in his bid to set aside the leave obtained by Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas to initiate committal proceedings against him for allegedly intimidating a witness in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.
The witness is Najib’s former special officer, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who is one of the key witnesses in the case.
High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah dismissed Lokman’s application to set aside the leave after the court was satisfied that the fact and the nature of the alleged contempt were sufficiently brought to the attention of the respondent (Lokman).
“In fact, the act was consistence with the video interview and the lodging of the police report against the eighth prosecution witness (Amhari),” he said.
The judge also held the Notice to Show Cause pertaining to committal proceedings may be issued by other parties to the person for alleged contempt, other than the court.
“Therefore, the court dismisses the respondent’s application to set aside the leave,” he said.
During previous proceedings, Lokman’s counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that the Notice to Show Cause was issued by Legal and Prosecution Division, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters to his client.
However, he said the body has no power nor jurisdiction to do so and only the court has the power and jurisdiction to issue the notice and to call for the respondent to provide an explanation on the alleged contemptuous action.
Justice Sequerah set March 13 to hear the committal proceedings and Feb 21 has been fixed for case management.
The judge also dismissed Muhammad Shafee’s request to stay the proceedings pending an appeal against today’s decision to the Court of Appeal.
Muhammad Shafee told the court that he would file a certificate of urgency for the Court of Appeal to hear the appeal expeditiously.
On Oct 22, last year, Justice Sequerah granted leave for the AG to initiate committal proceedings against Lokman for contempt of court acts perpetrated on two occasions on Sept 25, last year.
In the application, the AG sought an order for Lokman to be committed to prison or be fined for his actions.
The AG said that on that date (Sept 25) the respondent (Lokman) in a video interview uttered words constituting an express or implied threat against Amhari, who was the special officer to Najib, for having given evidence against the accused in the criminal trial of public prosecutor against the former prime minister at the High Court.
The AG said he would play the said video recording at the hearing of the application for leave and at the hearing of the substantive motion in the event leave is granted.
He said on the same day, Lokman lodged the police report against Amhari in respect of the evidence given by him at Najib’s ongoing criminal trial.
The object or purpose of the respondent’s said actions was to harass and intimidate Amhari, other witnesses and any potential witnesses who may come forward to give evidence against the accused in the trial, said the AG. — Bernama