Najib’s new money laundering case transferred to High Court

The case of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak involving three additional charges of money laundering to the tune of RM27 million of SRC International funds will be heard in the High Court.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed the application by the prosecution, led by Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas, to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

However, Mohd Nazlan dismissed Thomas’ application for the case to be tried jointly with three other cases (of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering) faced by Najib.

“I have no issue with the transfer per se, but the issue of a joint trial is premature because it’s within the jurisdiction of the High Court that tries the matter,” the judge said.

Earlier, Thomas told the court that the prosecution sought to transfer Najib’s case under Section 417 (1)(e) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Thomas said the transfer would be expedient for the ends of justice because the cases share inter-related facts and it would not be in the interest of justice to have separate proceedings in two separate courts of different hierarchy in those circumstances.

He said Najib was charged with three counts under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 in the Sessions Court on Feb 8.

“He (Najib) also faces a joint trial on three separate cases in this court and the trial is to commence tomorrow,” he added.

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing Najib, countered that Section 417 had nothing to do with an application for a joint trial.

He also applied for the prosecution to supply to the defence the list of witnesses who would be called for the trial tomorrow.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup said the prosecution had prepared the witnesses but to tell the defence now was unprecedented.

“Until the witnesses appear tomorrow that it is only time they will know. If I tell them now who I propose to come tomorrow, it would be just a proposal,” he said.

The judge then directed the prosecution to furnish to the defence who, at this stage, the prosecution proposed to call as witnesses, after the proceedings at the Court of Appeal this afternoon which was fixed to hear Najib’s request to stay the trial.

On Feb 8, Najib, 66, was charged again in the Sessions Court here with three additional counts of money laundering involving RM27 million five years ago.

On all the three charges, Najib, who is the Pekan MP, was alleged to have been involved in money laundering by accepting RM27 million, RM10 million and RM10 million which were proceeds from illegal activities at his three AmPrivate Banking accounts.

The offences were allegedly committed at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Ambank Group Building, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, on July 8, 2014, under Section 4 (1) (a) of the 2001 Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001. He faces a maximum fine of RM5 million or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, if found guilty.