Thursday 20 Jun 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR, (March 9): The prosecution has filed a notice of appeal over Friday’s High Court decision to acquit former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for abuse of power over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd audit tampering case.

A source from the Attorney General's Chambers when contacted by The Edge confirmed the filing of the notice of appeal.

“It has been filed just now,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

On March 3, Court of Appeal judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan had decided to acquit the former Pekan MP without his defence being called as the court ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against him and ordered that a certificate of indemnity be issued on former 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who was charged with abetting Najib.

In criminal cases, the losing side has 14 days to file the notice of appeal.

The prosecution is also appealing the certificate of indemnity given to Arul Kanda. 

Both appeals will now be heard at the Court of Appeal.

Currently, Najib is serving 12 years jail and faces a RM210 million fine after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and sentence with regards to his abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering charges involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

Zaini, who had earlier in the year been elevated to the appellate court, in his verdict agreed with Najib’s defence that there is no causal link between the amendments made in the first audit report and the purported alleged gratification.

“There is no evidence to explicitly prove that the second accused (Najib) had directed the amendments made to exonerate him from civil and criminal liability. He was merely concerned that the report would be spun politically.

“The prosecution has failed to prove how the items removed or amended could give rise to civil or criminal liability to Najib. In my opinion, the items taken out or amended from the earlier audit report would not give rise to criminal or civil liability to the accused. The amendments as stated by the auditor general (AG) are justified.

“I also observed that the items amended or taken out were known to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and openly discussed. Therefore, I find the presumption under Section 23 (2) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 could not apply as the prosecution had failed to prove gratification,” the judge said in acquitting the former PM.

In giving the certificate of indemnity to Arul Kanda, Zaini said the former 1MDB senior executive had given a "true and full discovery" testimony of all things for which he was examined by the prosecution and defence, when he was called in to testify under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Act 2009.

The judge said Arul Kanda was perhaps wrongly vilified in the 1MDB caper as he had acted to inform the National Audit Department (NAD) over the required documents.

Najib, 69, was charged with abuse of power as a public officer in his capacity as the then prime minister and finance minister in altering the 1MDB audit report prepared by NAD, which was to be tabled to the Public Accounts Committee in March 2016.

This was allegedly so that no action could be taken against him by Parliament.

Among the items removed included fugitive financier Low Taek Jho's (Jho Low) presence in 1MDB board meetings, and portions of 1MDB's 2014 financial statements.

The charge was framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009.

If convicted, Najib would have been liable to a maximum of 20 years' jail, and a minimum fine of RM10,000 or five times the amount of such gratification, whichever is higher. Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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