KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has discharged his lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and the latter’s law firm from representing him in his final appeal against his guilty verdict over the misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd's RM42 million.
The change in legal representation comes just weeks before the country’s highest court is scheduled to hear Najib’s final appeal.
Shafee & Co also informed the Federal Court that Najib has appointed a law firm where Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim is currently a lawyer to represent him.
“Please take note that on July 25, 2022, at around 5pm, we received a letter from Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Hj Abd Razak (‘Appellant’) where the Appellant has discharged with immediate effect Messrs Shafee & Co from acting as counsel and solicitor in representing him in these criminal appeals and related proceedings.
“Through the same letter, the Appellant informed that he has appointed Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners as solicitors,” Shafee & Co said in its letter to the Federal Court sighted by Malay Mail today.
Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners is the law firm where Zaid now practises rather than Zaid Ibrahim & Co, which was the first one he founded and also bears his name.
The Federal Court is scheduled to hear Najib’s SRC appeal over a period of 10 days from August 15 to August 19, and from August 22 to August 26.
In the same letter, Shafee & Co said it was in the process of completing the full physical and digital transfer of documents to Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners, which it expects to be completed by today.
Shafee & Co also said digital copies for the SRC appeal's record of appeals and court papers for Najib's application to add further evidence to his SRC appeal have already been given to the new lawyers on July 5.
It added that Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners have also been informed of the court dates for the final SRC appeal.
The other upcoming court dates related to the SRC appeal are: July 28 for the filing of Najib's affidavit in reply for his application to add further evidence, July 29 for a case management for Najib's application to add further evidence, and July 31 as the deadline for filing of written submissions and bundle of authorities.
For Najib's application to the Federal Court for the adding of further evidence to his SRC case and which will be coming up for case management on July 29, he is seeking to have the Federal Court nullify the SRC trial and to consider ordering a retrial due to what he claims was conflict of interest by the SRC trial judge.
The High Court on July 21 dismissed British lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw's application to be allowed to practise in Malaysia in order to represent Najib in the latter's final SRC appeal at the Federal Court.
This application can be further appealed directly to the Federal Court, but there has yet to be any official confirmation on whether Najib's lawyers would be appealing this.