KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence team has applied to reschedule a decision date for the former prime minister’s appeal of his conviction and prison sentence for misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
In the letter sighted by Malay Mail, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Najib would like for the scheduled verdict date at the Court of Appeal to be vacated and replaced with another the following week instead.
The appellate court’s decision over Najib’s appeal is currently fixed for December 8.
As for the reasons to reschedule the hearing, Najib said he will not be able to attend court on the aforementioned date as he would be undergoing quarantine upon his return from Singapore the same week on December 5.
“The applicant humbly submits for the December 8 date to be vacated and the date for the decision fixed the following week from December 13 to December 17 (or any other dates the court thinks suitable).
“The reason being the applicant will be in Singapore until December 5 and upon his return, he is made to undergo a mandatory self-quarantine for seven days.
“This is the order issued by the Malaysian government and the Health Ministry for returning citizens from overseas.
“Therefore, since our client will only be returning on December 5, he would need to be in quarantine until December 12 and can only attend court or public gathering from December 13 onwards,” the letter undersigned by Muhammad Shafee reads.
Najib is in Singapore to visit his daughter, Nooryana Najwa, who gave birth to her second child recently.
Additionally, Muhammad Shafee noted that his money laundering and incorrect tax return trial was also scheduled to resume for hearing on December 8.
He further pointed out that since the dates fixed for the trial was very limited, it would be extremely difficult to replace them with new dates if they are vacated to allow Najib’s SRC appeal decision to go on.
Muhammad Shafee said deputy public prosecutors led by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram have also been informed of the matter and have not raised any objections for the rescheduling.
When contacted later, a prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Chambers attached to the case confirmed Najib’s application was received and said no objections would be raised based on reasons as explained in the document.
Previously, Najib’s appeal concluded on May 18 after 15 days of hearing. The hearing which began on April 5 was initially scheduled for 12 days until April 22 but three additional days were allocated.
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 presided over the hearing.
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.
If Najib fails in his appeal, he will only be imprisoned 12 years as the High Court judge had ordered all the jail sentences to run concurrently.