All signs show Court of Appeal likely to free Najib

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Najib should have been jailed the moment he was found guilty.

Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his displeasure over “special treatment” accorded to Najib Razak despite his conviction for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering. On July 28, 2020, Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined RM210 million for the crimes involving RM42 million stolen from SRC International Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of 1MDB).

Writing in his blog, Mahathir, who had served twice as prime minister, has criticized the lame duck administration of Ismail Sabri for discrimination in the practice of the rule of law. He specifically compared the different treatment between Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Razak. Of course, Mahathir was the man who sacked Anwar in 1998, and promoted Najib as prime minister in 2009.

He wrote – “While the police broke Anwar’s door and arrested him, handcuffed and thrown into a police car to be detained before he was charged in court, Najib was never arrested or handcuffed or taken to a lockup in a police car. He goes to the court in his car and after the hearing, he went home. Yet the charges against him are more serious.”

Did the senile old man admit that during his 22 years of iron-fist rule (from 1981 to 2003), he had brutalized his former deputy prime minister Anwar? Or was it an admission that it was his fault for corrupting the judicial system, so much so that Najib could not be arrested, let alone handcuffed, when the world’s biggest crook was allowed to walk like a free man even after he was charged?

Has Mahathir forgotten that when Najib was charged in July 2018 after his Barisan Nasional government was defeated in the May 2018 General Election, he was already installed as the prime minister for the second stint? So, why was Najib not handcuffed and thrown into a police car to be detained before he was charged in court, the same way Anwar was being treated?

In fact, millions of Malaysians were waiting and yearning for the moment to see Najib dressed in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) iconic orange uniform. But it didn’t happen largely because Mahathir wanted to show off that he was a bigger man above everyone. However, with his latest ranting, indirectly Mahathir has shown his double standards, if not hypocrisy.

Perhaps Mahathir was cocksure that his protégé-turn-nemesis Najib would end up in the prison under his watch. But did he not anticipate that Najib could be freed by the same judiciary that he had corrupted during his 22-year-rule when he recklessly – or deliberately – resigned without consulting allies in the Pakatan Harapan coalition on Feb 24, 2020?

Yes, on the coming December 8, the Court of Appeal is scheduled to deliver its decision on Najib’s appeal to throw away his conviction. If he succeeds, not only will he crow for months that he has been innocent all along, but he will be able to contest in the next 15th General Election. If he fails, he still can try his luck at the Federal Court, the highest court, and the final appellate court in Malaysia.

But all signs appear to show that the Court of Appeal will likely free the 68-year-old former premier, reversing High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s verdict in sentencing Najib to 12 years’ jail last year. The crook should have been jailed the moment he was found guilty. However, he was allowed to walk away a free man pending appeal, a lengthy process that has so far taken a whopping 16 months.

Mahathir was absolutely right to argue that since the Court of Appeal has not decided whether Najib is innocent, he is guilty and should serve his sentence until the court says otherwise. Had Mahathir not perverted and corrupted the rule of law in the first place, Najib and his team of lawyers would not have mocked and wasted the time of the courts with endless deliberate delays.

While Mahathir’s grumbling was particularly targeted at the ridiculous decision of the Sabri government in rewarding “convicted” Najib with RM100 million worth of land the size of two soccer fields, along with a mansion to be built with taxpayers’ money, the old man should realize that the entire stinky issue of Najib toying with the rule of law has continued even during Muhyiddin’s regime.

Following the collapse of Pakatan in February 2020 after Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, together with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, betrayed their own government when they conspired and plotted with defeated UMNO and PAS extremists to form a backdoor government, then-PM Mahiaddin alias Muhyiddin had closed one eye, kept quiet, and even freed many crooks.

Under Muhyiddin regime, the people had already suspected that all the crooks charged under the now-collapsed Pakatan Harapan government will be freed – one after another. For example, Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib who was slapped with five charges of money laundering on July 5, 2019, was stunningly discharged not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) on May 14, 2020.

The Muhyiddin government’s settlement with Riza was incredibly ridiculous because after stealing US$248 million, which were misappropriated from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the crook just needed to return about US$107.3 million (RM465.3 million) worth of overseas assets first stolen by Najib – or 43% of his loot.

Less than a month after freeing Riza Aziz, Muhyiddin’s appointed Attorney General Idrus Harun decided on June 9 to let go of another big crook – former Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman (to help Muhyiddin snatch Sabah via a coup). Under the instruction of the Attorney General’s Chambers, all 46 corruptions and money-laundering charges against Musa were suddenly dropped.

Heck, even RM114 million in cash seized during a high-profile raid on May 17, 2018, at luxury Pavilion Residences owned by Najib Razak’s children has been returned to the crook on August 5, 2021, during the Muhyiddin administration. Strangely, the prosecution was not interested in appealing a High Court’s decision to dismiss the forfeiture of the RM114 million cash.

Exactly why didn’t Muhyiddin’s appointed attorney general challenge the court’s ruling to return the extraordinary amount of cash discovered in Najib’s family property? The High Court said the prosecution has failed to prove the monies were obtained from illegal activities. Attorney General Idrus has also failed to present any evidence that the cash originated from 1MDB.

Obviously, not only AG Idrus Harun was instructed by PM Muhyiddin to screw up the case on purpose, but also not to file any appeal when the court decided to return the RM114 million cash to crooked Najib. From the beginning, Muhyiddin was not interested at all to send Najib to jail, despite his lies and rhetoric that he was against kleptocrats and corruption.

When Muhyiddin criticized his boss Najib in 2015 over the 1MDB scandal, it was not because he genuinely wanted to fight corruption. Rather, the “Malay first” opportunist saw the golden opportunity to overthrow his boss, hoping he could emerge a hero and become the prime minister. But Najib decisively sacked him instead, forcing Muhyiddin to run around crying for justice.

Hilariously, days after Muhyiddin’s administration helped to return RM114 million cash to Najib, he was toppled by Najib and UMNO president Zahid who withdrew support for the fragile backdoor Perikatan Nasional government, ending the 17 months of Muhyiddin’s illegitimate government. Till today, traitor Muhyiddin remains a very angry and bitter man over how he was betrayed.

When Muhyiddin was eventually forced to resign on August 16, he again repeated his pledge – “I will never conspire with a kleptocratic group”. But his support for UMNO vice-president Ismail Sabri as the new PM would also mean the inclusion of UMNO crooks like Najib and Zahid in the government, without which the power-hungry Muhyiddin will be left in the opposition.

After Ismail Sabri took over, Najib was overjoyed because the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) has returned to power. Not only Najib has remained free, allowing him to undermine the High Court’s decision, the world’s biggest crook was practically given free access to the lame duck prime minister, whose survival depends on Najib’s kleptocratic group.

Finance Twitter

PM Ismail Sabri was so weak that Najib was almost appointed as a special economic adviser with ministerial rank. Najib became the first VIP criminal in Malaysia, screamed Mahathir, after the High Court allowed the crook to travel overseas to Singapore to visit his daughter. Prior, other crooks linked to UMNO were also given a special privilege – access to passports.

Zahid Hamidi, Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah were among several VIPs faced with corruption charges but were granted access anyway to passport to travel abroad under the lame duck Ismail Sabri administration. In the same month, Najib and his son Nazifuddin were allowed to defer the payment of tax arrears amounting to RM1.69 billion.

During Mahathir’s second stint and Muhyiddin administration, the crooks were blacklisted from travelling abroad and applications to delay paying taxes were never entertained. It’s not rocket science that when Najib is excluded from paying taxes owed, given freedom to travel, accorded police escort, and even awarded RM100 million in land and a mansion, he is waiting to be acquitted.

And there’s absolutely nothing Mahathir and people can do when PM Ismail Sabri quietly interfered to help Najib and other UMNO crooks, while the power-crazy Muhyiddin pretended nothing had happened. When it’s as clear as crystal that Najib is making a return to the premiership, do you really think there are any judges in the corrupted Judicial who are brave and courageous enough to go against the next most powerful man? – Finance Twitter