Najib denies all charges, bail set at RM1m

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, July 4, 2018.  ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, July 4, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has claimed trial to three charges of criminal breach of trust and another for abuse of power in relation to RM42 million allegedly misappropriated from a former 1Malaysia Development Bhd unit.

He pleaded not guilty before the High Court here, where the case was transferred earlier from the Sessions Court.

The three CBT charges are from Section 409 of the Penal Code, with each punishable by up to 20 years and a fine.

The power abuse charge was proffered under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, and is also punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine upon conviction.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas, who is leading the prosecution team filled with 11 deputy public prosecutors, proposed that bail be set at RM4 million with two sureties.

He also sought for Najib’s passport to be confiscated for the duration of the trial.

Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, are both already prohibited from leaving the country.

Lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah, who is representing the former PM today, countered with a request for bail to be lowered to RM500,000.

He claimed the family did not have RM4 million in cash and would need to solicit funds from relatives and friends in order to make the bail amount.

Shafee then proposed that the deed to Najib’s family mansion in Langgak Duta be used as collateral for the bail amount, but the prosecution rejected this.

Thomas said the defence’s proposal was impractical and his side would not accept the property title in lieu of cash.

The court later set bail at RM1 million with two sureties. Najib was also ordered to surrender his passports until his trial is concluded.

However, Shafee said Najib’s family would only be able to put up RM500,000 today, claiming they do not have access to further funds as their bank accounts have been frozen by the 1MDB Task Force.

The lawyer said they will attempt to raise the remaining RM500,000 by Monday.

Justice Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak, who presided over today’s High Court hearing, indicated his agreement while Thomas did not object to Shafee’s proposal for part payment.

Thomas did reject the defence’s bid for a temporary gag order on public statements about the trial, which Shafee argued was needed as intense media coverage would be prejudicial to his client’s case.

The AG said this would be against the country’s freedom of speech and told his opponent to formally apply for such an order if he insisted, but added that he would strongly contest this.

Despite the prosecution's objection, Sofian granted Shafee's application for the interim order, putting further reporting on the high-profile trial in question.

Najib was released on bail with these conditions, and departed the complex at 3.27pm for his home after giving a brief press conference about today’s charges.