‘Najib was left to take the blame’

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s legal team contended that trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had committed grave errors in finding the former prime minister guilty of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

The defence team maintained that Justice Mohd Nazlan had misdirected himself on several issues of law when convicting Najib in July last year.

Earlier yesterday, Najib’s lawyer Farhan Read submitted that the trial judge appeared “motivated” to hold him to account.

“The fact of the matter is that the only person left in Malaysia that the judge could hold accountable in the case is Najib. Key players, namely Low Taek Jho and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, have fled the jurisdiction.

“The desire of the learned judge to hold somebody accountable is understandable as this (RM42mil in SRC funds) is a loss to Malaysia, but it is misplaced to lump it on the head of the person left behind.

“We can sympathise with the trial judge and the struggle he must face as he was put under the spotlight due to the ‘case of the century’.

“Nevertheless, we cannot sanctify his lordship’s assessment of the evidence (in the SRC case), ” he said.

The court was told that Najib did not know that RM42mil was channelled from SRC into his bank accounts as he believed that the money in his AmBank accounts was the remainder of donations from the Saudi royal family.

Najib’s legal team yesterday finally wrapped up its submissions after six days on why the former prime minister should be freed from the 12-year jail sentence and RM210mil fine imposed on him by the Kuala Lumpur High Court last year.

They were supposed to have closed their arguments in the SRC International appeal last Thursday, but requested an extension to finish their case.

The hearing was initially fixed for 12 days from April 5 to 22, with four days each allotted to the defence and prosecution.

Both parties are also given two days each to make the final round of submissions.

Throughout the six days of proceedings that ended yesterday, 20 bundles of documents, containing over 2,000 pages related to the appeal, were served to court.

Today, all eyes will be on ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram as the top criminal lawyer will start his submissions.

The appeal is being heard by a bench chaired by Judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, with Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam as members.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had on July 28 last year sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and a RM210mil fine after finding him guilty on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of position involving RM42mil in SRC funds.

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