In mitigation, Shafee says the only thing Najib is guilty of is ‘over-trusting people’

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah speaks on his phone at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex July 28, 2020. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah speaks on his phone at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex July 28, 2020. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― No outstanding traffic summonses, SRC International was set up with genuine intentions, and full cooperation with the authorities were some of the mitigating factors raised by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer at the High Court today.

Earlier today, the former prime minister was convicted and found guilty on all seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd by the High Court.

Prior to conducting mitigation, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed the court that he was “handicapped” as he could not obtain further instructions from his client to conduct a proper mitigation.

Shafee also posited that his client was not well-versed in corporate matters having not served in an adviser capacity, adding that his client had expected the board of directors of SRC International and 1MDB to be professional in their conduct.

“If he was at fault, he was only at fault in trusting people that ought to run the company — 1MDB as well as SRC International.

“One can say he over-trusted them,” Shafee said.

Shafee also told the court while his client did act swiftly for certain decisions, it must not be mistaken with the idea that such decisions were made with bad motives.

“Najib has not been involved in corporate matters unlike Yang Arif, being with the Securities Commission.

“My client expected the board members to act professionally unlike him. He expected the board members to do due diligence,” he added.

The lawyer also said the criminal justice system would be better respected if any accused person walked away from a criminal court feeling justice has been done.

“My client is the only one singled out while others who are perhaps more guilty, no attempt or legal attempt has been made to bring them to justice. Therefore this feeling of being victimised is prevalent in him.

“That translates in the context that he’s (part of) political victimisation. He must walk out feeling he deserves everything the court has given him,” he said.

The others which Shafee had mentioned referred to former SRC International chief executive Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, fugitive financier Low Taek Jho better known as Jho Low, SRC International director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin and rogue bankers.

Pleading for mitigation, Shafee said Najib had cooperated with the MACC and the police and added that there was no evidence of him tampering with witnesses throughout the investigations.

Shafee also claimed his client had already undergone punishment, citing Najb’s charges in four separate cases, being chased by the Inland Revenue Board over taxable income of RM1.69 billion as an individual.

“This is preposterous and unbelievable like a cow can jump over the moon.

“We submit that it is oppressive and oppression has been purposely undertaken. He therefore suffers as a consequence of that,” Shafee said.

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