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Federal Court strikes out Najib's second bid to adduce new SRC evidence

Publish date: Tue, 16 Aug 2022, 01:55 PM

PUTRAJAYA (Aug 16): The Federal Court on Tuesday dismissed former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's second bid to adduce further evidence in his SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who led the bench ruled that there was no basis to suggest that then High Court Judge Datuk Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s employment in Maybank shows a conflict of interest or bias in his judgement against Najib.

"We failed to see how the evidence in abuse of power. 

"There is no basis to suggest that Nazlan's professional involvement in Maybank may affect the findings. We are not in any way convinced that Nazlan's finding denotes a biased judge or (that he) gained from his previous employment in Maybank."

With that, Tengku Maimun dismissed the application. 

The other judges who were part of the proceedings were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, and Federal Court judges Datuk Nalini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

Najib is trying to adduce new evidence from three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers who recorded the statement of trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali while investigating him. He is also seeking to re-examine MACC investigating officer Rosli Hussain and 1Malaysia Development Bhd former CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Nazlan was Maybank's general counsel and company secretary.

The defence had argued that during his tenure from 2005 to 2015, Maybank Investment Bank Bhd, through its subsidiary Bina Fikir Sdn Bhd, had proposed the formation of a strategic resource company in 2010.

During the SRC trial, it was revealed that Shahrol Azral had mooted the establishment of SRC, which was sanctioned by then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

Najib's new defence lawyers also tried to link Nazlan to Maybank's 2012 loan for SRC's parent company 1MDB amounting to RM4.17 billion for its purchase of Tanjong Energy Bhd and another RM140 million loan to Putra Perdana Development Sdn Bhd (PPD) in 2014.

They contended that it was the PPD money which made its way to SRC, before it was transferred into Najib's AmBank Islamic personal accounts.

The defence contended that the proposal to set up the strategic resources company and decisions on the loans were made when Nazlan was the bank's general counsel.

The lead defence counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik argued that this put the judge in a position of conflict, and he should not have presided over the trial.


Second bid to adduce additional evidence

The prosecution meanwhile disputed the relevancy of the attempt to adduce the additional evidence, as the Maybank loans do not involve SRC because the company is not the bank's client.

In addition, the issue only concerned 1MDB, which is the subject matter of one of Najib's court cases and is presided over by High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

They further argued that the allegations are hearsay, and the defence's heavy reliance on an affidavit by the former premier, who claimed to have received the new information through an anonymous source, was made in bad faith and to scandalise the court.

The defence is either seeking to either call the five witnesses as mentioned above to adduce evidence, or for the court to nullify the High Court proceedings.

Prior to this, Najib through his previous lawyers led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had also applied to the Court of Appeal last year to adduce further evidence in relation to former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz and her family allegedly receiving funds from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho. This was dismissed by the appellate bench last year.

The Federal Court then heard Najib's application last March, but this was shot down by a five-member apex court bench that was also led by Tengku Maimun.

Najib was found guilty by Nazlan on July 28, 2020, of a charge of abuse of power with regards to the approval of the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) loan of RM4 billion to SRC between August 2011 and March 2012.

He is also convicted of three counts each of criminal breach of trust and money laundering of RM42 million of SRC funds between Dec 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015.

As a result of this, the high Court sentenced him to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million.

The conviction and sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8, last year, resulting in this final appeal.

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