KUALA LUMPUR (May 13): Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Arief Emran Arifin has recused himself from presiding over SRC International Sdn Bhd and its subsidiary Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd's civil suit against Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
This is due to Mohd Arief's previous engagement as a partner in a local law firm that had done work for SRC.
His recusal however will not impact the Mareva Injunction granted in March against the former prime minister.
When contacted, plaintiff's counsel Syafinaz Vani from Messrs Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership confirmed this with The Edge.
She said that the matter came up for case management on Thursday (May 12) and Mohd Arief notified parties that his previous firm had done work for SRC.
However, he added that he was "never involved" with the work and asked parties to inform him of any objections on Friday (May 13).
Najib's counsel Muhammad Farhan Shafee from Messrs Shafee & Co said that the former premier would prefer a judge who had "zero connection" with SRC or its former parent company 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to hear the matter.
Mareva injunction not impacted
Syafinaz also confirmed that the Mareva Injunction granted on March 24 will not be impacted with Mohd Arief's recusal.
"Mareva Order granted shall not be affected by this current recusal given that parties have been made aware of [Mohd Arief's] previous firm's involvement with 1MDB-related work on several occasions and [Najib] never objected to this," she said.
She added that Muhammad Farhan agreed that the court order would not be affected and said that it did not impact the essential issues (merits) of the case.
On March 24, Mohd Arief granted a Mareva Injunction which among others prevents Najib or his agent from transferring or dissipating his assets amounting to RM42 million.
This is part of a larger civil suit against Najib filed in May 2021 for breach of fiduciary duties, knowing receipt of the funds, dishonest assistance, tort of misfeasance and abuse of power.