KUALA LUMPUR: The new defence team appointed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak to handle his final bid to overturn the SRC International conviction is now seeking an adjournment to the Aug 15 to 26 dates that have been fixed for the hearing of the appeal at the Federal Court.
Law firm Zaid Ibrahim Suflan T. H. Liew & Partners (ZIST) said the adjournment was needed as a whole new team had taken over to conduct the appeal.
The firm's senior partner Liew Teck Huat, in a letter to the deputy registrar of the Federal Court dated today, apologised for any inconvenience caused before going on to plead for consideration to be given to the request for an adjournment.
Liew also informed the court that Najib's defence team led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was no longer representing the former prime minister.
He said Najib had since appointed Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan T. H. Liew & Partners as solicitors and a new counsel team consisting of Hisyam Teh Poh Teik as lead counsel, and Liew Teck Huat and Rueben Mathiaravanam as co-counsels.
Liew said in light of the new appointments, the court should fix a mention or a case management date on an urgent basis for the counsels to obtain further directions from the court.
He said the defence had also received instructions from Najib to withdraw the pending appeal against the High Court's decision dismissing their client's application for an ad-hoc admission of Queen's Counsel Jonathan Laidlaw to represent him.
It was earlier reported that in a new twist to his SRC International case, Najib had resorted to replacing his longtime counsel Shafee with Zaid's firm to handle his final appeal at the Federal Court.
Shafee said he received a letter from Najib about 5pm yesterday informing him that he had been discharged from representing the Pekan member of parliament and former Umno president in the appeal proceedings.
He notified the court that his firm would be handing over all documents concerning the case to ZIST immediately.
Shafee had all this while led Najib's defence team in the SRC International case right from the time he was charged.
In 2020, Najib was convicted of all seven charges of power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to RM42 million of SRC International funds.
The then High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had sentenced him to 12 years' jail and RM210 million fine.
Since then, Najib has lost in his bid to overturn the conviction and sentence at the Court of Appeal and also failed in his attempts to introduce fresh evidence and also appoint a Queen's Counsel to represent him.