PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 — Senior lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the Federal Court this afternoon that he will file fresh submissions to defend Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the former prime minister’s final appeal against his conviction of misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Hisyam had applied to discharge himself from acting as Najib’s counsel this morning if the Federal Court refused to defer hearing the final appeal, but was thwarted by the panel of five judges led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who reminded the lawyer that he had a duty to his client after accepting the appointment.
Following that, he told the court he would be arguing for Najib based on the previous submissions filed at the Court of Appeal by Najib’s previous counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, after the defence cited unpreparedness to present its case since they were appointed at the eleventh hour.
“Just now when My Lady asked whether I will be relying on submissions in the Court of Appeal, I answered yes.
“At this juncture I would like to put on record that I wish to put in written submissions on behalf of the appellant,” Hisyam said when proceedings began after the lunch break.
He did not indicate when the submissions would be filed.
The chief justice broke from convention earlier today and ordered the prosecution to present its case first so that Najib’s new legal team could have more time to prepare their case.
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram, who is leading the prosecution, proceeded with the submission. He was assisted by deputy public prosecutors Donald Joseph Franklin, Sulaiman Kho Kheng Fuei, Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul and Manjira Vasudevan.
In his submission, Sithambaram went on to outline the prosecution’s case against Najib and briefed the panel on how RM42 million from SRC International made its way into Najib’s personal accounts.
The senior lawyer also detailed the company’s formation, then a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), how SRC International applied for a RM4 billion loan from Retirement Funds (Incorporated), and how Najib ended up wielding absolute power over SRC International.
The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.
Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.
The hearing at the country’s supreme court was scheduled to take place over nine days, from August 15 to August 19, and will resume after this weekend from August 23 to August 26.
August 15 and 16 were spent hearing Najib’s bid to add new evidence and seek a postponement that were ultimately disallowed by the Federal Court. The court then fixed August 18 as the start of the main SRC International appeal hearing.
The case is now at the Federal Court, and it is Najib’s last chance to convince the judges that his conviction and punishment should be overturned.