Najib’s suit a ‘non-starter’

KUALA LUMPUR: The criminal charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak over 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) were not filed in bad faith, says the High Court.

High Court judge Justice Ahmad Bache, who had struck out Najib’s suit against former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas last year, said the misfeasance in public office lawsuit filed by the former prime minister was a “non-starter” and had “no chance of success”.

In his full grounds of judgment, the judge said that for a tort of misfeasance and malicious process to exist, Thomas must have also conducted or been involved in the prosecution and the proceedings until the conclusion of Najib’s trial.

Thomas, however, did not conduct or take part in the prosecution of Najib’s four 1MDB cases as some were still pending or had not even started when Thomas resigned on Feb 28, 2020.

Justice Ahmad had thrown out Najib’s lawsuit on Nov 25, 2022, with RM12,000 costs after allowing Thomas’s striking out application.

His full grounds of judgment was only made available yesterday.

The judge also said that the process of bringing any suspect, such as Najib, to court would have to go through several stages within the criminal justice system whereby the fate of an accused would be determined not by the public prosecutor but by the court based on the evidence adduced.

He added that Thomas’s successor, Tan Sri Idrus Harun, did not withdraw the charges against Najib but instead pursued them, further lending credence to Thomas’s decision to charge Najib.

This, he said, dispelled the notion that Thomas had a political and personal agenda against Najib when he preferred the charges as Idrus was not appointed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration during the time of the Pakatan Harapan government.

On Oct 22, 2021, Najib filed the suit claiming that the charges against him were part of a move that had been planned in advance by Thomas and also in line with the Pakatan government’s plan at the time.

Najib, 69, claimed that he had been wrongly accused in court in the case of 1Malaysia Development Bhd, International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), abuse of power under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

He had sought a declaration that Thomas committed misfeasance in public office as well as RM1.9mil in damages including negotiation fees for the audit team to review documentation for the preparation of facts to deal with the prosecution against him.

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