Thursday, May 6, 2021

Najib’s abuse of power charge illegal, lawyer says in SRC appeal

Lawyer Shafee Abdullah says the Cabinet made a collective decision on government guarantees for the loan from KWAP.

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The charge of abuse of power against Najib Razak in the SRC International case was wrong and illegal, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Najib’s counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said this was because the former prime minister had no personal or pecuniary interest when he chaired Cabinet meetings that discussed government guarantees for SRC International to obtain a loan from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).

“Najib, as the prime minister, was chairman of the Cabinet, which was the government of the day. The trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was 100% wrong to conclude that he was using his position for any gratification.

“As the then-prime minister, Najib was the ‘first among equals’ in the Cabinet. At the end of the day, the Cabinet made a collective decision.

“It was not a decision by an individual (Najib), the prime minister, finance minister or representative of MoF Incorporated,” he said.

The lawyer said it had become a total distraction because Najib was said to have participated in Cabinet meetings in 2011 and 2012 to obtain for himself RM42 million from the RM4 billion funds channelled through KWAP to SRC International.

“We contend that there is no nexus between the decision taken to approve the government guarantee and the gratification that was intended,” he said, adding that Najib was seriously prejudiced and disadvantaged.

Shafee submitted this today before a three-member bench led by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil in the hearing of the former prime minister’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds.

The other two judges on the bench were Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.

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

The hearing of the appeal continues tomorrow.

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