Appeals Court reserves ruling in Najib’s SRC conviction appeal, decision date to be announced later

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya May 18, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya May 18, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, May 18 — After 15 days, the hearing of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s appeal against the former prime minister’s conviction and jail sentence for misappropriation of RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd funds concluded today.

Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil who chaired a three-member panel alongside Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, said the bench would reserve its judgment until a later date as they will need time to deliberate on the submissions before coming to a decision.

“This is one of the most time-consuming appeals we have heard thus far compared to other existing appeals.

“Since the appeal involved important issues, we would need time to deliberate on the written and oral submissions and deliver our decision.

“We will notify parties of the verdict date when we are ready. Therefore, today’s proceeding is to be adjourned until the next date we announce,” Abdul Karim said after the defence wrapped-up of their submission.

Abdul Karim also instructed both prosecution and defence to file their written submission on the appellant’s sentencing within a week from today.

The hearing which began on April 5 was initially scheduled for 12 days until April 22 but three additional days were allocated.

Najib was represented by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah while the prosecution was led by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram.

Later, Najib expressed hope that justice will be served and he would be allowed the opportunity to clear his name as these were trying times for him and his family.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to my legal team and I think they have done their very best under pressure with time constraints since they were other cases running almost concurrently,” he said in a brief address to reporters.

He also thanked the media for providing coverage of his ongoing case in order for the public to follow what actually transpired during proceedings.

During the closing submission, Muhammad Shafee had highlighted the misdirection by the trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in finding a prima facie case against Najib at the High Court.

In his submission, he listed 18 of such instances where Mohd Nazlan had misdirected in law or fact of the findings of the case presented throughout the trial.

He also argued that it was fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and not Najib who had benefited the most in the SRC International transactions as Najib’s RM42 million was only but a small fraction of what the former siphoned.

“Not only the trial judge misconstrued the entire facts but entire law as well,” he said, before urging the court to consider an order of acquittal on all of Najib’s criminal charges.

In the RM42 million SRC International case, Najib was sentenced by the High Court 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 which he is now appealing against.

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