Najib just trying to delay Wednesday SRC decision with new evidence bid, prosecution tells court

·6-min read
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on October 26, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on October 26, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is just attempting to slow down and delay the Court of Appeal’s decision this Wednesday in his case involving the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to former 1Malaysia Development Berhad unit SRC International Sdn Bhd, the prosecution has said in a court document.

In opposing Najib’s last-minute application filed just last week (December 1) to bring in new evidence into court for the SRC case, the prosecution in an affidavit said such purported evidence was irrelevant to the case as all the available and relevant evidence had already been produced in court previously.

In an affidavit in reply by deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed filed at around noon today, he told the Court of Appeal that the prosecution had not concealed any relevant facts during the SRC trial at the High Court or during Najib’s appeal at the Court of Appeal.

“I aver that all available evidence was before the trial court and the Court of Appeal to determine these appeals, and no relevant additional evidence is required for the fair disposal of this case,” he said.

Budiman also argued that Najib had not shown any exceptional circumstances to enable additional evidence to be added to the case before the Court of Appeal gives its decision on December 8, which will be just two days later.

“The prosecution states that this application is to delay the decision of these appeals by reopening the entire case,” Budiman argued, basing this on the court orders that Najib is seeking by asking for more evidence to be added.

Among other things, Budiman also pointed out that the prosecution had offered former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz to Najib as a defence witness, but noted that Najib had “chose not to call nor interview Tan Sri Zeti” for the purpose of supporting his defence in the SRC trial.

He noted that information relating to the allegations linked to Zeti’s family that Najib was citing as purported fresh evidence had been available online as early as late October 2020, and that Najib had started enquiring about such allegations as early as late December 2020 and had received a positive response in January 2021.

Budiman argued that Najib knew about the allegations relating to the purported new evidence since January 2021, suggesting that Najib’s application just days before the Court of Appeal’s scheduled decision was “deliberately timed” and not due to these allegations being known subsequently.

If Najib’s intentions were genuine, Budiman said Najib could have instead filed the application to add in the purported new evidence as early as January 2021, which was even before the appeal hearing at the Court of Appeal began in April 2021.

“The applicant took close to 11 months from January 2021 and a few days before the Court of Appeal is scheduled to deliver its decision on the applicant’s appeal to file this application,” he said, referring to Najib as the applicant.

“This deliberate delay and the irrelevance of the so-called fresh evidence to the charges demonstrates that this is a mala fide application,” he said, calling Najib’s application as one done in bad faith.

Responding to a paragraph in Najib’s affidavit where the politician apologised for any inconvenience caused and asking the Court of Appeal to hear the new evidence application at the earliest date to avoid delays, Budiman disputed this and said that Najib’s application was instead “wilfully filed to delay the judicial process of these appeals”.

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.

As for Najib’s claim in his application that he did not know that RM42 million was transferred from SRC into his bank accounts in 2014 and 2015 as he believed them to be donations from Arab royalty, Budiman said the High Court had found that the “narrative of the Arab donation is contrived and fabricated.”

Budiman also argued that Najib had failed to show the connection and relevance of the additional evidence that the latter is seeking to get by asking for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Datuk Seri Azam Baki and MACC investigating officer Rosli Hussein to testify in the appeal.

He pointed out that Najib appears to be seeking to get additional evidence from the two MACC officers relating to 1MDB transactions and money originating from 1MDB, but pointed out that such purported evidence has nothing to do at all with SRC. Najib’s SRC trial involves SRC funds, and not 1MDB funds.

“The applicant relied on mere conjecture and speculation to establish that there exists a conspiracy to suppress evidence relating to the SRC trial,” he concluded when asking the Court of Appeal to dismiss Najib’s application.

Lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah arrives at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya April 13, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah arrives at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya April 13, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Last week, Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah held a press conference, insisting that his client is not to blame for what may be seen as a “last minute” application and claimed that his client did not delay filing the application for more evidence to be added.

Tomorrow, the Court of Appeal is scheduled to hear Najib’s application to add in more evidence to the SRC appeal before the court delivers its decision on the appeal.

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

Najib was 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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