KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has filed a civil lawsuit against former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas and the Malaysian government for having pressed 35 criminal charges against him in four trials, claiming that the then attorney general had allegedly abused his powers to prosecute him.
In the lawsuit filed on October 22 in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Najib is claiming for a declaration that Thomas had committed misfeasance in public office, and RM1,941,988 (or RM1.9 million) to compensate for the alleged losses that he had suffered so far, general damages, exemplary damages and aggravated damages.
In the breakdown of the alleged RM1.9 million loss suffered by Najib so far, these were listed in his statement of claim as RM310,115 for “medical expenses suffered due to anxiety and stress caused by the prosecutions”, RM1,005,200 for “consultation fees for audit team to perform documentation review in order to prepare the facts to face the prosecutions”, RM56,673 for “travel expenses from September 2018 to date incurred in relation to fighting the court charges”, RM90,000 for “wasted costs due to being unable to travel overseas due to the conditions of the bail imposed”, and RM480,000 for “engagement of other services, including security personnel and clerical staff in dealing with the charges”.
When contacted by Malay Mail, lawyer Yudistra Darma Dorai — from the law firm who had filed the lawsuit for Najib — confirmed that the lawsuit has been filed, but said it has yet to be served on those being sued.
What Najib is claiming
Based on Najib’s statement of claim, he is suing Thomas for allegedly having committed the tort of misfeasance in public office and the tort of malicious abuse of process and the tort of negligence.
He was also suing for the Malaysian government to be held vicariously liable or liable for Thomas’ alleged wrongs in his capacity then as a government servant.
In the lawsuit, Najib claimed that the 35 criminal charges that he is facing in four cases were allegedly part of a “long planned, premeditated exercise” by Thomas, citing various views since 2012 which Najib attributed to Thomas as well as various events.
Among other things, Najib claimed that Thomas had “consistently been prejudiced” against him even before his appointment as attorney-general and during and after his tenure as attorney-general.
Thomas was Malaysia’s attorney-general from June 2018 until his resignation on February 28, 2020 following a change in government from Pakatan Harapan to Perikatan Nasional.
Citing the list of events that had happened in the past as well as Thomas’ past comments, Najib claimed that Thomas had used his former position as attorney-general to act “wrongfully, maliciously, and in bad faith” against him.
Najib also claimed that Thomas had been negligent in publishing statements that would allegedly prejudice and affect Najib’s ongoing trials.
In claiming that Thomas committed misfeasance as attorney-general, Najib claimed that Thomas had allegedly abused his powers by allegedly prejudging his case before deciding to prosecute him, allegedly failing to study the case against him independently and objectively, allegedly interfering with investigations and allegedly acting maliciously and in bad faith.
Najib also claimed that the prosecutions against him were not done according to the law and due process and natural justice.
Najib claimed that Thomas was allegedly negligent and oppressive, also alleging that Thomas had breached his duty as a former attorney-general to not make sub judice comments that would influence and impact ongoing criminal trials.
Najib also claimed that he had lost his constitutional protection under the Federal Constitution’s Article 8 — which provides for equality before the law and equal protection of the law — by Thomas’ actions, alleging that Thomas had allegedly discriminated against him by purportedly treating the allegations against him differently from other cases.
Najib claimed that the alleged wrongdoings had resulting in him suffering “loss of reputation and injury to his political career” as a prominent politician, with his lawsuit listing him as being the son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, having first became an MP in 1976, being a former Pahang chief minister, having held senior Cabinet positions since 1986, and who was “also a prominent public figure in foreign countries and commanded the respect of foreign leaders such as Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump”.
Najib also claimed to have suffered the loss of liberty during custody for investigations by the authorities, and to also have suffered “pain, suffering and trauma”, and alleged that all such losses listed have continued.
Najib then went on to detail what he was claiming for, including the RM1.9 million payment to pay for a specific breakdown of losses incurred.
In the statement of claim, Najib made it clear that his lawsuit was only in relation to the four criminal cases where he is facing 35 charges, and not in relation to a fifth case where he is facing seven charges in relation to former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million.
The SRC case is where Najib had been convicted and sentenced in the High Court, and which he had appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal has heard his appeal but has yet to deliver its decision in the SRC case.
The four criminal cases which Najib is alleging to be wrongful prosecution are the trial where he is facing 21 money-laundering charges and four power abuse charges involving more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds, his joint trial with former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah involving six criminal breach of trust charges over RM6.6 billion of government funds, a trial where he is facing one power abuse charge in relation to alleged instructions given to amend the Auditor-General’s 1MDB audit report before it was presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, and three money-laundering charges involving RM27 million of SRC funds.
Out of these four cases, two are ongoing, namely the 1MDB trial with the next hearing date to be on November 9, while the trial involving the 1MDB audit report — and which is being heard together with former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy who was accused of abetting Najib in the alleged power abuse — is currently set to resume in March next year.
The two other trials — the joint trial with Irwan Serigar and the RM27 million money-laundering case — have yet to start, in order to give way for the ongoing trials to be heard first.