KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is facing seven charges related to criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, must turn up at his court proceedings even if it was just a case management.
High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali made this ruling following an application by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for his client to be exempted from attending a case management on Nov 29.
Dr Muhammad Shafee asked for the court to consider excusing his client during the case management as it only involves the defence counsel and the prosecution.
“I don’t need to take instructions from my client at that time as I would already have (received) the instructions,” he said.
Senior lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah, who was appointed by the Attorney General’s Chambers to lead the prosecution, replied that Najib should be in court.
“I feel that in a case of this importance, the accused should attend. We do not have an instruction for this but this is my opinion,” he told the court here yesterday.
Justice Mohd Nazlan said if the matter was not contested, the court could have given its consideration for the accused to be excused.
At least the accused could directly follow the proceedings as he would be present, the judge said.
Yesterday, Najib attended the case management for his seven charges related to money laundering of RM42mil from SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor sat at the public gallery.
The court was also informed by Sulaiman that the prosecution had handed over documents to the defence.
Earlier, Justice Mohd Nazlan allowed an application by the defence to transfer Najib’s other case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
The case involves 25 charges of money laundering and power abuse relating to transactions amounting to RM2.3bil linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh submitted that the defence would be arguing on novel and complex issues in the case that should be dealt with by the High Court.
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who led the prosecution in this case, said the prosecution did not object to the transfer.
“It is in the interest of justice. Otherwise we would have some of the cases tried in Sessions Court, some in High Court,” he said.
Justice Mohd Nazlan said the 25 charges contain a myriad of transactions and it involved public interest both locally and internationally.
“Another case involving SRC International has been transferred to the High Court.
“I’m of the view that a transfer would expedite the course of justice, hence I am allowing the application under Section 417(1)(e) of the Criminal Procedure Code, he said.