The prosecution is fair and even generous to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and also accepts that the former prime minister is innocent until proven guilty, the attorney general (A-G) said today in dismissing suggestions of political persecution.
A-G Tommy Thomas, who is leading the prosecution against Najib, said that he and his team of 11 deputy public prosecutors and a few others had concluded over three weeks that there was a “strong prima facie case” or case that will require Najib to answer.
“We have a strong prima facie case which we intend to prove at the trial. We accept that the burden [of proof] is on us.
“We accept that he is innocent until proven guilty,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur court complex here earlier today, having also said that Najib is entitled like any accused person to claim innocence and that the prosecution will have to establish their case in a trial.
Thomas also said the prosecution was fair in dealing with Najib’s two cases, where the latter managed to ask the High Court to set bail at a lower amount of RM1 million to be paid out over two instalments instead of the RM4 million initially sought by the prosecution.
“You saw we were very, very generous on bail. We did not object to bail as a matter of principle.
“There was disagreement on the quantum of bail, but once the court fixed RM1 million, we did not object to it being paid over two days. We are very fair,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, we are fair. Why should they suspect they are not being given a fair trial?” he later replied when asked about concerns of a fair trial.
He refuted any suggestions of political persecution and said the Attorney General’s Chambers’ (AGC) prosecution is regardless of who is being charged in a criminal case.
“As far as we are concerned, it is the same.
“I am backed by a very strong deputy public prosecutor’s office, the AGC is the largest law office in the country, with a distinguished history of prosecuting.
“I’ve got 11 members of the team working with me. As far as we are concerned, we just look at it from a criminal law perspective, doesn’t matter who the personality is, it’s just criminal law,” he said.
Thomas appeared unfazed at the chances of a successful prosecution with senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah representing Najib and noted the latter was free to select a lawyer, saying: “There are 18,000 members of the Bar and it’s for the accused to choose, we’ve got no problem. It’s the choice of the accused.”
When asked about Shafee’s purported plans to have him disqualified as the prosecutor in the cases, Thomas said: “Let’s wait for the application.”
In Shafee’s press conference which took place later, the lawyer said Najib’s legal team was “thinking very seriously” about applying for Thomas’ disqualification to prosecute Najib.
Shafee claimed that Thomas “had made a prejudgment even before becoming A-G”. – Malay Mail