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Court throws out bid by Najib, Irwan Serigar for discharge not amounting to acquittal

The two had applied for a DNAA, saying they were charged in 2018 but have not yet been tried.

3 minute read
Former prime minister Najib Razak and former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
Former prime minister Najib Razak and former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today dismissed an application by Najib Razak and former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah for them to be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) on six counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) amounting to RM6.6 billion involving the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin said the court dismissed the applications on grounds that the prosecution was ready for the trial.

“The trial dates, for 32 days from September 2021, were set before but were vacated at the request of the prosecution and it was objected to by the defence.

“An application for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal under Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code can only be allowed if the prosecution does not intend to continue the case,” he said.

He also set April 1 to 4, 8 to 11 and throughout May next year as the new trial dates for the case.

Najib, 68, and Irwan, 63, applied for the DNAA today during a case management on grounds that they were charged in 2018 but had not been tried until now.

Lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, representing Najib, said his client had yet to be tried and that the case was still pending despite him being charged four years ago.

“We also applied for several documents from the prosecution according to Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code, but these are not yet completed. Therefore, we apply for our client to be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” he said.

Lawyer K Kumaraendran, represented Irwan, said he did not doubt the court process or the prosecution, but that the case facing his client was still pending and had been mentioned 14 times in court since October 2018.

“This case has been suspended because there is no suitable hearing date as the first accused, Najib, is being tried in several different courts and we have received information from his lawyer that the only available date is in 2023,” he added.

Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, however, objected to the application on grounds that it was unfair for the court to allow the two accused to be discharged but not amounting to an acquittal at this stage, before the trial.

He said the prosecution was ready to conduct the case, and had submitted documents three times under Section 51A. In accordance with the provisions of the law, he said, the defence could submit additional documents, if any, before the trial.

“The public prosecutor represents 34 million members of the public who want to see this case go to trial. They cannot be given a DNAA just like that. We are ready to prove the charges against the two accused,” he added.

On Oct 24, 2018, Najib and Irwan pleaded not guilty to six charges of CBT amounting to RM6.6 billion in government funds involving payments to IPIC.

Najib and Irwan were jointly accused of committing the offences at the Finance Ministry Complex, Putrajaya between Dec 21, 2016, and Dec 18, 2017.

They were charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code read together with Section 34 of the same code which provides for a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping as well as a fine upon conviction.