Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex at 2.40pm today to attend a case management into his 32 criminal charges.
Clad in a grey suit, Najib arrived in a black Proton Perdana with police escorts and accompanied by several of his aides.
He was greeted by some 30 supporters, many of whom were wearing black T-shirts imprinted with words “Rule of law – Hentikan Tahanan Politik (Stop the political arrest)”, chanting “Hidup Najib (Long live Najib)” repeatedly when Najib was making his way into the complex.
Among the supporters spotted were actress Ellie Suriatie and Najib’s former special officer Isham Jalil.
Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor was also in court wearing a green baju kurung and a matching green tudung.
Najib’s trial relating to 25 charges of money laundering and corruption has been transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
“These 25 charges contain a myriad of transactions and involve public interest, both locally and internationally.
“Another case involving SRC International has also been transferred to the High Court. I’m of the view that a transfer would expedite the cause of justice. Hence, I’m allowing the application under Section 417 (1)(e) of the Criminal Procedure Code,” High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said.
Earlier, retired Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who was appointed as senior Deputy Public Prosecutor, told the court that today was fixed to hear Najib’s application to transfer his case and the prosecution had no objection.
“It is in the interest of justice. Otherwise, we would have some of the cases tried in Sessions Court, some in High Court,” he said.
Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh told the court the defence would be arguing on novel and complex issues in the case that should be dealt with the High Court.
When asked by the judge on the number of charges Najib was facing, Harvinderjit said his client faced four charges of graft under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and 21 charges of money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad funds of RM2.28 billion.
He was alleged to have committed all the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, 55 Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon between 2011 and 2014.
Najib, who is also facing seven charges involving power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million, must be present in court for every proceeding against him, even for case management.
Nazlan said Najib should be present so that he could follow his case directly.
He made the ruling after Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah applied for his client’s absence in court during the case management today.
The lawyer had asked the court to excuse Najib from attending the upcoming proceedings as case management normally involved only the prosecutors and the lawyers.
However, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah replied that the accused should be present as the case was important.
“Personally I feel that the accuse should attend as the case is important. We do not have any instruction for this but this is my opinion,” he said.
“I think he should be here, if the matter is not contested then we can consider. At least the accused may directly follow the proceedings,” the judge said.
Earlier, Nazlan fixed Nov 29 for hearing and case management for Najib’s criminal case involving seven charges of receiving RM42 million in illegal proceeds linked to SRC International Sdn Bhd.