Najib applying to disqualify Thomas

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be making a formal application to the High Court to disqualify Attorney General Tommy Thomas from heading the prosecution team in his case.

Najib’s lead lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the filing will be done in a fortnight.

“We want to complete our research first and gather all the material we need. We will compile all the statements that he had issued about my client prior to the charging (on Wednesday),” Shafee told The Star yesterday.

He added that his team would need time to dig up all the necessary material and file the application once they are ready.

On Wednesday, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his position for gratification as part of a probe into money missing from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The charges are related to the RM42mil that allegedly went from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

The former prime minister’s trial was initially thought to begin on Feb 8, 2019, while case management is scheduled for Aug 8.

However, in a statement issued yesterday, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) clarified that the trial dates had yet to be fixed and would only be fixed after Aug 8, most likely in November.

It added that the dates reported by the media were the trial judge’s “possible free dates for trial”.

In response to the issue of disqualification, Thomas had said on Wednesday that he would wait for the disqualification application to be filed by the defence, and did not provide any further comment.

He had earlier claimed that the prosecution had a strong case against Najib in relation to his involvement in SRC International.

“We reached the conclusion that we have a strong prima facie case, but accept the burden of proof is on us and that the accused is innocent until proven guilty,” he said after Najib was charged.

Apart from seeking to disqualify Thomas, Shafee had also requested a gag order relating to the SRC International case to stop any prejudicial statements in the media and on social media.

The AGC had reiterated in the statement yesterday that it would oppose the application on Aug 8.

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