Saturday, June 12, 2021

Court denies Najib’s bid to delay SRC appeal hearing

A three-man bench says there is no sufficient reason to adjourn the hearing despite the request for a delay of at least one month to allow Najib's team to obtain documents from Singapore and New York.

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Najib Razak’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds today proceeded after the Court of Appeal rejected the former prime minister’s bid to postpone the hearing.

A three-member bench led by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil dismissed Najib’s application to adjourn the hearing after counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that they had additional evidence to put in their appeal including evidence related to the family of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

“We are unanimous in this. There is no sufficient reason to adjourn the hearing. We are disallowing the application for an adjournment,” said Karim, who presided over the appeal with Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.

Shafee had said they needed an adjournment of at least one month to obtain several relevant documents from New York and Singapore.

“The documents are linked to 1MDB and also involve allegations against Zeti’s family. We need at least one month to put additional evidence in our submission. We are seeking for an adjournment of the hearing,” Shafee said.

However deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram objected to the request, saying any applications should have been made before the hearing commenced.

“There are non-valid grounds for them to ask for an adjournment. We pray that there is no more delay and ask the court to proceed with the case,” he said.

Najib has submitted 307 grounds in his petition of appeal on why he should be freed of the charges.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had, on July 28 last year, sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210 million after finding him guilty of seven charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of position involving RM42 million in SRC International funds.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of CBT 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, he will only serve 12 years in jail as the judge ordered all jail sentences to run concurrently.

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

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