Court of Appeal rejects Najib’s attempt to delay appeal hearing for 1MDB documents related to Jho Low, Zeti Aziz

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya on April 5, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya on April 5, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, April 5 — The Court of Appeal today dismissed Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to adjourn his appeal hearing against his conviction and jail sentence for misappropriation of RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil in chairing a three-member panel, said there were insufficient grounds to grant such an application after Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah earlier indicated the need for the defence team to be given a one-month adjournment for today’s hearing.

Shafee earlier sought the adjournment pending bank documents from entities in New York and Singapore related to allegations faced by former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz and her family which were crucial to the defence’s preparation in their respective cases.

He also gave an undertaking that the appeal hearing would resume as usual upon the expiration of the adjournment with or without the documents.

“We are unanimous in this. There is no sufficient reason to adjourn the hearing.

We are disallowing the application for an adjournment,” Abdul Karim said, before instructing Shafee to write in a formal application and to resume with the appeal hearing scheduled for today.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram initially objected to the adjournment, arguing that there was no formal application filed by Najib’s defence team with regard to the matter.

“We are seriously objecting to the request for adjournment. 

“During case management, any applications should be made before the appeal (hearing) so as to not scuttle the hearing,” he said.

On March 28, Najib had filed a notice of motion in the High Court to compel the prosecution to produce several banking statements and other documents to his defence team in his RM2.3 billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.

According to the affidavit, Najib claimed that some of the statements and documents were linked to the companies believed to be related to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and Zeti.

Apart from bank statements, Najib is also seeking the companies’ certificate of incumbency, declarations of the identities of the companies’ beneficial owners, registers of members, registers of directors as well as correspondence between the banks and the companies in respect of its transactions, including emails, telegraphic transfers, remittance forms, payment advice, transaction reports, payment orders, credit advice and bank memos.

In the RM42 million SRC International case, High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of CBT and each of the three counts of money laundering, and 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine, in default five years’ jail, in the case of abuse of position on July 28 last year.

However, Najib will only serve 12 years in jail as the judge ordered all the jail sentences to run concurrently.

The Court of Appeal has fixed April 5 to 8, 12 to 15 and April 19 to 22 to hear the appeal.

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