Tuesday 16 Jul 2024
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PUTRAJAYA (Dec 8): The Court of Appeal here had on Wednesday (Dec 8) rejected former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's appeal to set aside his conviction in the case involving ex-1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

“There is no error in the judgment of the High Court,” Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said.

In a unanimous decision on Wednesday, Court of Appeal Judges Abdul Karim, Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera upheld the High Court's verdict on all seven charges against Najib in the SRC case.

Abdul Karim, when reading portions of the Court of Appeal's 200-page judgement involving Najib, said the Court of Appeal found no error in High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan's decision in asking Najib to enter his defence when Mohd Nazlan said a prima facie case had been proven against Najib.

On July 28, 2020, the High Court sentenced Najib to12 years in jail and fined him RM210 million after he was found guilty by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali of seven charges involving SRC, which included one charge of abuse of power involving Retirement Fund (Incorporated)'s (KWAP) RM4 billion loans to SRC, three counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM42 million and three counts of money laundering.

Najib is also facing three money laundering charges involving RM27 million in SRC.

The Court of Appeal also agreed that Mohd Nazlan had rightly interpreted and applied correctly the abuse of power charge under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 when Mohd Nazlan decided that Najib's presence at Cabinet meetings which approved KWAP's RM4 billion loans is beyond question.

“This is also irrefutable by witness testimonies. There is overwhelming evidence that Najib had interest in approving the KWAP loans for SRC.

Supporters of Najib outside the court (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge Malaysia)

“This established that the appellant (Najib) had interest beyond his office in SRC. The loan is not for national interest but ended up as a national embarrassment. We find no good reason to disagree with the ruling of the High Court judge,” Abdul Karim said.

Abdul Karim said the ex-premier was in a position of power in SRC due to his status as a shareholder of SRC by virtue of Najib being the finance minister, prime minister and SRC's advisor emeritus when the offences were committed.

On the criminal breach of trust charges against Najib under Section 409 of the Penal Code, Abdul Karim said the Court of Appeal agrees with the High Court that the RM42 million in Najib's bank account clearly belongs to SRC.

Abdul Karim went into the details of the elaborate transaction and explained how the funds finally ended in Najib’s bank account via intermediary companies from SRC.

“The funds remain that of SRC’s despite flowing through these companies. The movement of money clearly shows misappropriation,” Abdul Karim said.

Abdul Karim said the money in Najib’s bank account was used for his own spending.

“He (Najib) had known that the money was transferred into his account and he did not do anything about it,” Abdul Karim said.

On the money laundering charges against Najib, Abdul Karim said the money in Najib's bank account is from proceeds of unlawful activities which make up the money laundering charges.

“The appellant (Najib) knew that the money in his (bank) account was from illegal and unlawful activities,” Abdul Karim said.

Abdul Karim said there is also the letter that Najib sent to the bank to transfer RM32 million to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of SRC.

"This shows that he (Najib) knew that the money in his (bank) account was from SRC,” Abdul Karim said.

Abdul Karim said the Court of Appeal agrees that the Arab donation story has no credibility.

He said that the Court of Appeal agrees with the High Court judge's ruling that upheld the three money laundering charges against Najib hence, the Court of Appeal rejected Najib's appeal to set aside his conviction.

Following the Court of Appeal's decision, Najib's defence team made submissions for and obtained a stay of execution of Najib's jail sentence and fine.

The Federal Court, which is Malaysia's highest court and final appellate court will be Najib's last avenue to appeal against his conviction.

In the High Court verdict on July 28, 2020, Najib was found guilty of abusing his power by using his positions as prime minister and finance minister to approve two loans of RM2 billion each by KWAP to SRC in 2011 and 2012.

Prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram at the Palace of Justice (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge Malaysia)

Najib was also convicted of three counts each of criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC’s funds, which ended in his bank account between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected the Najib defence team's contention that the money in his bank account was from an Arab donation.

“Such donations claim are untenable because the RM42 million in Najib’s account was from SRC and the court does not see why the Arabs would give the money to SRC (via) Najib’s (bank) account.

“The Arabs also did not testify in the trial and there was no evidence to suggest that this was a donation,” Abdul Karim said.

The Edge is covering the trial live here.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.

Edited ByChong Jin Hun
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