Najib applies to nullify SRC trial

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Claims judge had conflict of interest.

Devan Manuel

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has filed an application to adduce further evidence in his SRC International case and persuade the Federal Court to nullify the earlier trial which saw him being convicted and jailed 12 years, and fined RM210 million.

His lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the further evidence which the former prime minister wanted to adduce related to recent discoveries made against trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

He said Nazlan had failed to disclose that he was the general counsel and company secretary for the Maybank Group in 2006, which was responsible for proposing the establishment of SRC International.

Shafee said Maybank’s involvement in the setting up of SRC was never disclosed by the prosecution at any point during the trial.

He added that Nazlan himself had wilfully failed to disclose his role and involvement in the setting up of SRC.

“Despite all this, Nazlan made findings in his grounds of judgment against Najib that my client had engineered the formation of SRC.

“The finding in Nazlan’s decision is squarely contradictory to the factual matrix known to him.

“This new evidence is intended primarily to persuade the Federal Court to nullify the trial of the High Court as it infringes the rules against bias and fair trial principles,” he said at a press conference at the Jalan Duta courts complex this evening.

Shafee said Nazlan, as the general counsel and company secretary of Maybank, was also the head of its corporate and legal services, and would have known about a RM140 million loan given to Putra Perdana Development (PPD).

He said the proceeds of the Maybank loan facility forms part of the subject matter of the RM42 million relating to SRC charges against Najib.

“In light of this, the judge would have known or have a good suspicion that the RM42 million had never had its source from the RM4 billion KWAP loan,” he said.

Shafee said Nazlan’s involvement and knowledge of all this amounted to a conflict of interest and had led to a real danger of bias.

He said the defence hoped the application to adduce all this further evidence could be heard as quickly as possible.

The Federal Court has before this set Aug 15 to Aug 26 to hear Najib’s appeal against the High Court decision and Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his appeal against the ruling.

“We are hoping this application would be treated with utmost urgency…forget about the merits of the appeal (at the Federal Court).

“My client never had a chance in the trial because the judge who presided over the case had a massive conflict of interest,” he said.

Nazlan was the judge who presided over Najib’s SRC trial at the High Court, which started in April 2019, and ended with the guilty verdict in July 2020.

Najib was found guilty over the misappropriation of SRC funds totalling RM42 million and sentenced to 12 years jail and fined RM210 million. – NST