KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will decide on Monday whether it will quash or amend any of the charges in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial.
Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali set the decision for 9am after hearing submissions by both parties.
Najib’s lawyers applied to have his charges either quashed or amended, citing procedural errors in how the prosecution had designed the accusations.
Datuk Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin argued that charges of corruption could not be tried concurrently with criminal breach of trust (CBT).
Referring to the RM42mil at the heart of Najib’s charges, he said the money could not be both gratification for a corrupt act and money obtained via a breach of trust.
He said CBT assumed Najib was entrusted with the money he misappropriated, while corruption suggested he was paid off with the money, meaning he was not entrusted with it.
“Both versions are at odds with each other. It is an either/or situation,” he said.
Fellow defence lawyer, former Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, submitted that the charges against his client for CBT lacked clarity and specificity.
“The prosecution has failed to specify which of the five possible types of CBT is alleged to be committed. Unless amended, the charges are indefinite and embarrassing,” he said.Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram replied that the charges were not vague, as they should be read together with supplementary documents furnished by the prosecution as per Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
He said Parliament created specific different laws to address different crimes, so it was fair to bring charges under each law.
Earlier this month, Mohd Yusof had argued that the application to clean up the supposedly defective charges should be heard by the High Court before the start of the trial.
But Justice Mohd Nazlan ordered the trial to start without delay, saying that the matter could be heard once the trial was ongoing without prejudice to the defendant.
On July 4 last year, Najib claimed trial to a charge of abuse of power and three counts of CBT linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal.
On Aug 8, he appeared in court again and was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same RM42mil.