Najib’s SRC final appeal resumes today

The former PM is appealing to set aside his conviction and jail sentence as well as the fine by the High Court in 2020

THE country’s highest court is scheduled to hear submissions from Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) lawyer to quash the former prime minister’s (PM) conviction and sentence for misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

However, if Najib’s newly-appointed lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, refused to make any submissions, then the Federal Court’s five-member bench led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat might deliver her decision on the spot or postpone it to another date.

Last Friday, Hisyam told the panel that he will not make any submissions, not even orally, to defend the former PM.

Justice Tengku Maimun who presided over the appeal with Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court Judges Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd, said the court will deal with the matter today.

The prosecution led by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram, when wrapping up its submissions last Friday, said the court could proceed to deliberate for a decision in the absence of the former PM’s fresh written or oral submissions.

The appeal proceedings, which started last Thursday, saw several plot twists with the first being Hisyam seeking to recuse himself from representing Najib, but his request was turned down by the court which then ordered the prosecution to submit.

The prominent lawyer had also told the panel that Najib had discharged his solicitors, Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners, from representing him.

The lawyer once again asked the court to postpone the hearing to next Thursday (Aug 25) as he had other cases on Aug 24 and Wednesday, but it also was rejected by the court.

On Aug 16, the court dismissed Hisyam’s application to postpone the appeal hearing and ordered the appeal to proceed on Aug 18. 

On July 28, 2020, the then High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of criminal breach of trust and each of the three counts of money laundering, and 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine, in default five years’ jail, in the case of abuse of position.

However, Najib would have to serve only 12 years in jail as the judge ordered all the jail sentences to run concurrently.

Najib is currently out on bail of RM2 million in two sureties pending appeal.

Last year, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision and dismissed Najib’s appeal to set aside his conviction and jail sentence as well as the fine. — Bernama