The prosecution in Najib Razak’s SRC International case said yesterday that the involvement of trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who previously held a position in Maybank Bhd, was irrelevant to the case against the former prime minister.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, in an affidavit-in-reply filed at the Federal Court yesterday to object against Najib’s application to adduce fresh evidence, said the alleged evidence sought had more to do with Najib’s separate and ongoing RM2.3 billion 1MDB trial.
“The applicant’s allegations are nothing but a red herring to declare the SRC trial a nullity. I state that the issue of 1MDB’s acquisition of Tanjong Energy Holdings, the involvement of Maybank and Nazlan in this 1MDB matter, are not relevant to the facts in relation to the SRC charges faced by the applicant in the appeals.
“These issues are not relevant to the SRC appeals but related to the 1MDB case which is not being presided over by Nazlan. There is no proof of any conflict of interest by the judge which translates to a real danger of bias at the SRC trial,” he said.
It was confirmed that Nazlan, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, had in 2006 held the position of general counsel and company secretary of Maybank Investment Bank Bhd.
Ashrof said Nazlan’s role at the said bank was public knowledge and known to the applicant at all material times, including during the commencement and continuance of the trial as shown by public documents and documents in the possession of the applicant.
However, he said Najib did not object to him presiding over the trial at the material time.
The prosecutor added that there was no evidence that the judge was involved in the setting up or incorporation of SRC International as 1MDB was the one that had set up SRC International at the point of time.
Ashrof said Najib’s allegation of Nazlan’s purported knowledge of Maybank loans to 1MDB did not bar the judge from hearing the SRC International case.
He also contended that the former prime minister had failed to show any connection between his allegations and the SRC International charges presided over by the judge.
He said that 1MDB and SRC were distinct legal entities, with the latter operating separately and independently from 1MDB at all material times.
“All relevant and material evidence was presented at the trial. There was no suppression of evidence as alleged, and the applicant was not denied a fair trial. This application is filed to prolong the SRC International proceedings for collateral purpose.
“I aver that the cumulative evidence now sought to be adduced by the applicant was available to the applicant and, in any event, is not relevant to the appeals before the Federal Court,” Ashrof said, adding that the matter was fixed for case management before the apex court on June 30.
On June 7, Najib filed an application to adduce further evidence related to the judge to the apex court, to nullify the entire trial on the misappropriation of SRC International funds totalling RM42 million which saw him convicted of seven charges.
The Federal Court has fixed 10 days in August to hear Najib’s final bid against his conviction and jail sentence.
On Dec 8, 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld Najib’s conviction, 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine for misappropriating the funds.
Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who presided with Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, unanimously dismissed Najib’s appeal against Nazlan’s decision on July 28, 2020.