KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would never seek to have his criminal cases dropped but will instead want to have his name cleared by going through trial in the courts, his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah asserted today.
Shafee was asked if Najib would write in to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and put in a representation for his charges to be reviewed, following Najib’s stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz’s success in getting a conditional release from money-laundering charges after making such representations.
Shafee highlighted that Najib had previously said he would never want to have his charges dropped like in Lim Guan Eng’s past corruption case over a property purchase in Penang.
“Datuk Seri Najib said ‘I never do that, I want to get acquittal through the court process’. At least in the SRC case, the defence is called, it’s finished...If he loses in the High Court, he will go all the way to the Federal Court. He wants his name to be clean through the process of the court,” Shafee told reporters.
Shafee was speaking to reporters on the 35th day of Najib’s trial involving more than RM2 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.
On May 14, the Sessions Court granted Riza a discharge not amounting to acquittal over five counts of money-laundering over more than US$248 million (RM1.08 billion by today’s exchange rate) allegedly misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), following an agreement between the prosecution and Riza which will involve millions of ringgit to be paid to the Malaysian government.
Although the value of the settlement was initially not specified, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission later said it would result in the Malaysian government’s expected recovery of overseas assets involved in the offences at an estimated value of US$107.3 million (RM465.3 million).)
Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun had later said it would result in the Malaysian government’s expected recovery of around US$108 million (subject to the eventual proceeds from the sale of assets that Riza would have to give up his rights to and after deduction of associated costs) to be credited into the 1MDB Asset Recovery Trust Account.
Riza’s case raised concerns from critics including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and federal opposition Pakatan Harapan, with questions raised over whether his release would be a precedent for other high-profile corruption cases in the future.