Najib begins final appeal to overturn 1MDB-linked conviction

Today, the Malaysian Federal Court will begin hearing former prime leader Najib Razak’s final plea to overturn his conviction in a corruption case linked to the multi-billion dollar 1MDB financial scandal.

Channel News Asia reported that the 69-year-old arrived at the courthouse just after 9:00 am.

The Federal Court had set aside nine days, from Aug 15 to Aug 19 as well as Aug 23 to Aug 26, to hear the appeal. The bench is led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali of the High Court found Najib guilty of seven criminal offences in 2020 for stealing RM42 million (US$ 9.4 million) from SRC International.

He received a 12-year jail term and a RM 210 million fine from the judge. The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on December 8, 2021, when the three-judge panel unanimously dismissed Najib’s appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Najib’s appeal at the Federal Court is his last chance to overturn the conviction.

Last month, the Pekan member of parliament tried to delay the date of his appeal hearing through a written application by his new lawyers.

The lawyers were seeking to adjourn the hearing after they took over the case from Shafee & Co, who had been discharged from representing the former premier. However, it was rejected by the Federal Court.

Najib had fired Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, his lead defence lawyer, and hired Messrs. Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners, a different law firm, to represent him in the appeal.

This came about after British Queen’s Counsel Jonathan Laidlaw’s bid to be admitted to the bar and represent Najib in his final appeal was denied by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Meanwhile, Najib is still embroiled In the 1MDB trial, in which he stands accused of corruption over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion in 1MDB funds.

He faces 25 charges, four for abuse of power and 21 for money laundering, for offenses allegedly committed between 2011 and 2013.