PUTRAJAYA, Aug 19 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak dropped another bombshell at the Federal Court today, discharging the law firm Zaid Ibrahim Sufian TH Liew & Partners from acting as his solicitors in his final appeal against his conviction for power and financial abuses of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Najib’s decision was relayed to the five-panel judge led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat by his lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who is from a different legal firm.
“The solicitors have been discharged by the appellant,” Hisyam said in court at the start of today’s appeal hearing.
Tengku Maimun, acknowledging the latest development, then ordered ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram to resume his submissions.
This is the second time Najib has abruptly discharged his legal team since the start of the SRC International trial.
He previously dropped his counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and the rest of his defence team from representing him in the case on July 25.
The next day, he appointed Hisyam as his counsel from the firm of the same name, and Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiavaranam, the two partners in Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners’ as his solicitors.
No reasons were given as to Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners’ discharge.
Yesterday, Najib explained that he opted to discharge Muhammad Shafee and team after losing both his case and his appeal at the High Court and the Court of Appeal respectively.
“Under such circumstances, I was left with no choice but to look for a fresh team as I wanted a new perspective to my case; hence, I appointed Tuan Haji Hisyam and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim as a team of solicitors,” Najib said in a statement.
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 had been 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.