KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak expressed his disappointment with the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his conviction and sentencing surrounding SRC International Sdn Bhd today.
Speaking to the press virtually while under home quarantine due to exposure to a Covid-19 patient, Najib said he ordered his lawyers to immediately file an appeal against the appellate court’s judgment.
“The central issue with respect to the SRC International case revolves around the RM42 million that was transferred into my personal account.
“I would like to reiterate and say once again that I did not know nor did I ask for it nor did I direct anyone for the RM42 million to be transferred into my account,” he said.
“I want to say that I am very disappointed with the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal this morning and I have asked my lawyers to file an immediate appeal to the Federal Court.”
Echoing Najib was his lead defence counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who expressed similar disappointment towards today’s ruling.
Muhammad Shafee asserted the court had surprisingly overlooked important points raised by his team when delivering its decision, which he said would be included as part of their upcoming Federal Court appeal.
He said the court’s findings surrounding the supposed personal interest Najib had in the RM2 billion government guarantees issued to SRC International was surprising, saying it was the first lines had been crossed where a Cabinet member is able to have such interests in official dealings.
Muhammad Shafee questioned parts of the judgment that refereed to evidence the defence had previously contested such as the admissibility of certain photocopied documents, the authenticity of the Arab donations, and also how the judges came to a conclusion that Najib was micro-managing SRC International.
“Datuk Seri Najib was the prime minister and the minister of finance, with more than 85 companies under the wing of the Minister of Finance Incorporated, so how could he micromanage anyone, that was a glaring and obvious error,” he said.
However, Muhammad Shafee said as lawyers, judgments by the courts must be respected and accepted.
“We accept respectfully the decision of the court, but there is nothing to say we cannot criticise the decision of the court, and to provide reasons we are discussing, without transgression into contempt of court,” he added.
This morning, Najib failed to appeal his conviction and sentencing involving the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International after the appellate court affirmed the High Court’s ruling.
Najib has been granted a stay of execution by the Court of Appeal for his sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment and RM210 million fine, pending the outcome of his appeal at the Federal Court.
The appeal today was against the High Court’s decision from July 28, 2020, which found him guilty of all seven charges relating to SRC’s RM42 million.
The High Court previously sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail for each of six charges (three counts each of criminal breach of trust and money laundering), as well as 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine with an additional five years’ jail if the fine is not paid for the abuse of position charge.
The High Court had ruled that Najib’s prison sentences would run concurrently or at the same time, which would mean a maximum imprisonment of 12 years for Najib.