KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has asked the Court of Appeal to allow new evidence to be included in his appeal against his conviction, fine and jail sentence for misappropriating RM42 million from former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Najib’s application was filed yesterday, or just seven days before the Court of Appeal was scheduled to decide his appeal on December 8.
Based on court documents sighted by Malay Mail, Najib is applying for the Court of Appeal to allow and to direct for viva voce evidence to be taken from Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Datuk Seri Azam Baki, or essentially for the anti-corruption chief to be asked to give oral evidence in relation to the SRC case.
Najib is also applying for further oral evidence to be taken from MACC investigating officer Rosli Hussein in the SRC case.
Azam has not testified in the SRC case, while Rosli previously testified as a witness in court in the SRC case.
In the same application, Najib asked the Court of Appeal to allow the addition to his SRC appeal of viva voce or oral evidence from “any other witness” or “any other additional or further evidence” which may arise based on his affidavit or as the court sees fit and appropriate.
Najib also asked for the contents of his affidavit in support and the attached supporting exhibits to be included as additional and further evidence in the SRC appeal.
He also asked the court to direct additional evidence to be included in the SRC appeal’s records of appeal and for the SRC appeal to be “set for continued hearing”.
In other words, he asked the Court of Appeal to continue hearing the SRC appeal. The hearing, which went on for 15 days, ended last May 18.
Najib claims acted without delay, wants application heard before SRC decision
In an affidavit filed in support of his application, Najib said the viva voce evidence should be taken from the two MACC officers and to be included in his appeal in the SRC case, adding that he believed that their additional evidence would be necessary in the interest of justice.
In his affidavit, Najib also commented on the timing of his application to ask for new evidence to be added to the SRC appeal, claiming that he had filed it without delay as soon as he could.
“I humbly state that this application has been made by me without delay as soon as I was made aware of and was able to accumulate all the necessary information and documents which I shall outline herein,” he said.
Najib claimed that such information was not available or could not be obtained during his SRC trial at the High Court and when the Court of Appeal previously heard the appeal.
He further claimed that he was unable to “uncover” such evidence and accused the prosecution, the MACC and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) of “actively concealing them”.
While acknowledging that a date has already been fixed for the Court of Appeal’s decision in his SRC appeal, Najib claimed that the additional evidence that he wants to be included will have a material effect on his case.
He said that all crucial material should be presented to the court for a just decision to be achieved.
He argued that such evidence is necessary to be added on in the interest of justice and as his life and liberty is at stake.
Among other things, Najib wants the Court of Appeal to consider including further evidence before deciding on his SRC appeal, with such alleged further evidence relating to former BNM governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz as well as her alleged links to Low Taek Jho via her family’s alleged receipt of funds from the latter and also regarding the recovery of US$864,813.27 in 1MDB funds from SRC former CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.
Najib insisted that he had believed the RM42 million of SRC funds banked into his bank accounts in 2014 and 2015 were donations from the Arab royalty.
He said he believed that the High Court would have arrived at a different decision in his favour if such evidence had been produced during the trial and would allegedly also raise reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case at both the High Court and Court of Appeal level.
Najib also asked for the Court of Appeal to decide on this application before delivering its decision on his appeal against the SRC conviction.
“I profusely apologise to this honourable court for any inconvenience occasioned, and I seek for this application to be heard at the earliest date possible, in any case prior to this court rendering any judgment, to prevent any delay towards the judicial process in the appeals,” he said in the affidavit.
Excluding today, there would be just three week days left before the December 8 decision by the Court of Appeal.
Malay Mail has confirmed with the prosecution team that the application was filed by Najib yesterday.
The judiciary had on November 23 announced that the Court of Appeal would deliver its decision on Najib’s SRC appeal on December 8.
The Court of Appeal on November 24 was also reported to have rejected Najib’s November 23 application to postpone the SRC appeal decision date, and instructed for all parties to be present at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on the scheduled date of December 8.
Najib’s lawyer had at that time applied for the December 8 decision date to be rescheduled, saying that his client would be in Singapore until December 5 and would be required to undergo a seven-day quarantine until December 12 and would only be able to attend court from December 13 onwards.
Previously, Najib was allowed to have his passport released temporarily from October 25 to December 6, with his lawyers informing the court that this was to enable his travel plan then of being in Singapore on November 21 until December 5.
It is unclear if Najib is currently in Singapore or Malaysia, or if he has made changes to his travel schedule that was informed to the court previously.
Najib had on November 27 gave a press conference outside the Dang Wangi district police station after lodging a police report there over the alleged suppression of evidence that could be used for his SRC and 1MDB trials, while his son Nor Ashman Razak had on November 29 posted on Instagram Stories with the words “Off to Singapore!!” as he tagged Najib.
On November 29, Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa — who is living in Singapore — posted a photo on Facebook showing her newborn child being held by Najib with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor by his side.
On July 28, 2020, the High Court convicted Najib over all the seven charges — covering the offences of criminal breach of trust, power abuse, money laundering — in relation to SRC International’s RM42 million.
The High Court sentenced Najib to a 12-year prison term and a fine of RM210 million with an additional five years if the fine is not paid for the power abuse charge, as well as jail terms of 10 years each for each of the six other charges.
But with the High Court ruling that the prison terms are to be served concurrently, this would mean that Najib would only have to serve a maximum of 12 years. Najib has appealed the entire High Court decision, including the conviction and sentencing.