Saturday, January 22, 2022

Court throws out Najib’s SRC appeal in unanimous decision

Judge says Najib's act in relation to the RM4 billion loan to SRC International resulted in national embarrassment instead of benefiting national interests.

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The Court of Appeal has rejected Najib Razak’s appeal against his conviction and sentence for charges related to some RM42 million from SRC International, upholding the High Court’s verdict last year finding the former prime minister guilty of seven counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of power.

A three-man bench led by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil delivered its judgment in a unanimous decision today.

Karim, who sat with Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, described the offences as a national embarrassment, adding that they could not be said to have been done in national interests.

He said the bench agreed with the findings of the trial judge that there was clear misappropriation of the RM42 million by Najib for his own use.

He also said that Najib’s submissions on donations from Saudi Arabia were untenable, adding that no confirmation was found in the letters submitted by the Pekan MP.

“The trial judge did not err in sentence, and we find proper consideration by the trial judge,” he said in affirming the sentence on all charges.

This leaves Najib with no choice but to appeal to the Federal Court in a final bid to escape prison and a fine of several hundred million ringgit.

Najib, who attended the court proceeding online through Zoom, appeared calm but pensive as the decision was read out.

He was convicted in July last year and sentenced to 10 years’ jail for each of the six charges related to CBT and money laundering and 12 years for abuse of power, for which he was also fined RM210 million or five times the amount in question – a total of 72 years.

But High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali who handed down the verdict used his discretion to order for the sentences to run concurrently.

Karim today said that Najib had relied on reasons given by former attorney-general Apandi Ali, former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission director-general Zulkifli Ahmad and former treasury chief Irwan Serigar.

“The decision of the trial judge was correct in stating that their opinion cannot replace the evidence,” he said when reading out the summary decision.

The panel also agreed with Nazlan’s judgment that Najib when he was prime minister had a personal interest in approving a RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund to SRC International.

Karim said the evidence showed that the RM42 million belonged to SRC International and was transferred to several accounts in order to obscure the flow of funds and to make it difficult to trace before entering Najib’s accounts.

The three judges had yesterday rejected Najib’s application to introduce new evidence in his appeal.

Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah applied for a stay of execution pending further appeal at the apex court.

This was granted by Karim after hearing the application from the defence.

Farhan Read who is also on Najib’s defence team had said that the former prime minister was still the MP for Pekan and had to carry out his responsibilities.

He also said Najib has to defend himself in several other lawsuits including the Inland Revenue Board cast involving RM1.69 billion.

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