A member of Najib's legal team tests positive for Covid-19 ahead of appellate court hearing

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court May 24, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court May 24, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — In an eleventh hour notice, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed the Court of Appeal that a member of their legal team is down with Covid-19 and asked to vacate today’s scheduled hearing of their application.

The appellate court is supposed to hear Najib’s application to add in more evidence to the SRC appeal before judges deliver their decision on the former prime minister’s conviction appeal involving the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

In the letter filed and addressed to the Court of Appeal’s registrar sighted by Malay Mail late last night, Muhammad Shafee sought to vacate the hearing for both today and tomorrow, saying his son, Muhammad Farhan tested positive for Covid-19 on December 6.

According to Muhammad Shafee’s notice, a lawyer attached to his firm, Zahria Eleena Redza, told two other members of their legal team Harvinderjit Singh and Farhan Read, that her mother has been confirmed to have Covid-19 based on laboratory test results at 6.08pm yesterday.

“On December 4, Muhammad Shafee along with Muhammad Farhan and his wife had attended a celebration and met with close friends and relatives where it also involved Miss Eleena’s family including her mother, Datin Edwina Patricia Totu.

“Lawyers of Shafee & Co which included Harvinderjit and Farhan were in the midst of preparing for the next day’s hearing were then informed by Miss Eleena of her mother’s test result.

“Immediately after, all lawyers that were present at the firm were made to undergo an antigen self-screening test and Muhammad Farhan was found to be Covid-19 positive in three different test kits while others have shown negative results thus far,” the letter reads.

A laboratory report of Patricia’s Covid-19 test result was also attached as a supporting document.

Muhammad Shafee further noted that Najib being his client had also been present at the firm on December 6 for the purpose of affirming and scrutinising several affidavits that were filed yesterday.

“Thus the MySejahtera status of all those involved have changed to casual or close contact as they await an appropriate time to conduct a PCR test.

“Based on the above reasons, we have the social responsibility towards the court and involved parties to inform everyone of the aforementioned matter.

“We humbly seek for the honourable Court’s consideration to vacate both December 7 and December 8 for the above matter,” he added.

The prosecution team confirmed with Malay Mail that Muhammad Shafee made the court filings yesterday.

Najib’s application to add in evidence to his SRC appeal was filed on December 1, which is about six months after the Court of Appeal had concluded hearing the appeal in May 2021.

Najib’s application was also filed after the Court of Appeal’s November 23 announcement that it would deliver its decision on the appeal on December 8.

The Court of Appeal is to scheduled to deliver its decision on whether Najib has succeeded or failed in his appeal against his conviction, fine and jail term in the SRC case tomorrow.

Najib is appealing the High Court’s July 28, 2020 decision, which had found him guilty of all seven charges relating to SRC’s RM42 million.

The High Court had sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail for each of six charges (three counts of criminal breach of trust and three counts of money laundering), and had also sentenced him to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine with an additional five years’ jail if the fine is not paid for the abuse of position charge.

The High Court had decided that all jail sentences would run concurrently or at the same time, which would mean a maximum imprisonment of 12 years for Najib.

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