Prosecution: Najib seeks to distract from SRC conviction by claiming to know OSA-protected MACC interview of judge

·6-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seeking to divert attention from him having been found guilty in the SRC trial, by disclosing what he claimed to be the trial judge’s statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a recent probe, the prosecution said today.

In an affidavit filed today by the SRC prosecution team’s deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, the prosecution said such disclosure by Najib would be illegal, if Najib’s claimed content of the MACC probe involving Nazlan was true.

This is because the MACC’s interviews while recording statements are protected by the Official Secrets Act, Ashrof said.

Ashrof highlighted that Najib’s claim of personal knowledge of what SRC trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had told the MACC would not be admissible evidence or matters that could be accepted as evidence in a court if it were true, and said the purported claim was not relevant at all to Najib’s SRC case.

“I aver that any reference to recordings of statements, if true, from Justice Nazlan by the MACC during their investigation, which if true, are privileged statements, are inadmissible and hearsay evidence caught under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

“The contents of the interview with MACC (if true), have absolutely no bearing on SRC trial, as SRC is a MoF Inc. Company since February 2012 whilst the purported default of a 1MDB loan occurred, if true, in 2015.

“This irrelevant, inadmissible and Official Secrets Act protected interview is illegally and maliciously published (if true) to divert the finding of culpability against the applicant by Justice Nazlan,” Ashrof said in his affidavit.

Najib had in June applied to the Federal Court to nullify the SRC trial and to order a retrial, as he insisted that the trial judge Mohd Nazlan had a conflict of interest due to his alleged failure to disclose his past positions and previous roles in Maybank before he became a judge.

In Najib’s further affidavit filed on July 14, he claimed to have known what Mohd Nazlan told MACC officers while the judge’s statement was being recorded, in relation to Maybank’s deliberation in March 2012 of a RM4.17 billion loan to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and an alleged potential default by 1MDB in 2015 of the same loan.

Stating in his affidavit on what Mohd Nazlan’s response was, Najib did not say however how he had this purported knowledge of the judge’s replies to the MACC.

In the same affidavit, Najib claimed to have been informed of the names of the two MACC investigators who were carrying out the investigation on Mohd Nazlan, naming them as Asrul Ridzuan Ahmad Rustami and Noor Syazana Kamin, as well as also naming their supervising officer as being MACC head of investigations Mohammad Zamri Zainul Abidin. Najib too did not say how he knew who were the MACC officers involved in the probe.

In response to Najib’s claim of knowledge of what the MACC probe was about and who are the MACC officers involved, Ashrof today said: “The applicant’s purported personal knowledge of the investigations being carried out by MACC cannot be true, as the MACC as an independent enforcement agency will not divulge confidential information pertaining to ongoing investigation.”

Ashrof today stressed that Najib was seeking to bring irrelevant matters to be added as new or further evidence in his final appeal against his conviction over the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

Among other things, Ashrof said Najib’s lawyers had never raised 1MDB as part of his defence in the SRC trial, and went on to accuse Najib of trying to “confuse and muddle the SRC trial” through his allegations of conflict of interest on Mohd Nazlan.

Pointing out the SRC case and 1MDB case involve different entities and different charges, Ashrof also said Najib was making a “ludicrous and a desperate attempt” to back his theory of conflict of interest with his “self-serving accusation” that Mohd Nazlan’s perception of 1MDB in 2015 would affect his perception of SRC.

Ashrof said any Maybank loans to 1MDB are not relevant to the SRC appeals and would only be relevant to the 1MDB case which Mohd Nazlan is not presiding over, also saying Najib’s allegation of conflict of interest by Mohd Nazlan was based on “flimsy grounds” over 1MDB’s purported RM4.17 billion loan.

On June 7, Najib had applied to the Federal Court to allow him to add verbal evidence to his final SRC appeal in court, by calling in former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi as well as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Rosli Hussein or Rosli’s successor on matters in Najib’s affidavit to testify.

Najib had also added on the names of the three MACC officers — who he claimed to know as being involved in the probe on Mohd Nazlan — to his application for them to be called to testify as witnesses in his final SRC appeal.

As part of the application, Najib is also seeking an order from the Federal Court to declare that the entire trial in the High Court for the SRC case be declared null and void, and for the Federal Court to consider ordering a “retrial” of the SRC case against Najib.

But Ashrof today said these five individuals’ evidence would be irrelevant to the SRC appeal and would not show any conflict of interest by the SRC trial judge, and urged the Federal Court to dismiss Najib’s application.

Ashrof also said Najib had known of the SRC trial judge’s former Maybank roles — which was knowledge available to the public — even during the SRC trial, and had never objected to Mohd Nazlan being his SRC trial judge.

Najib’s application is scheduled for case management at the Federal Court on July 29.

While Mohd Nazlan had heard Najib’s SRC trial at the High Court and found him guilty in July 2020 and while Najib had in December 2021 lost his appeal and filed his final appeal in the Federal Court the same month, it was only on June 7 this year that Najib had filed this application to add on purported new evidence in relation to Mohd Nazlan with the ultimate goal of seeking to nullify the trial.

The Federal Court had as early as April 29 notified both Najib’s lawyers and the prosecution that it will be hearing his final SRC appeal over 10 days from August 15 to August 19, and from August 22 to August 26.

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