Crime & Courts

Federal Court rejects Najib's application to introduce fresh evidence in SRC case appeal [NSTTV]

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has rejected Datuk Seri Najib Razak's application to introduce fresh evidence which the former prime minister had hoped would help him clear his name over the SRC International conviction.

The apex court's decision has dealt a major blow to the former prime minister's attempt to get a retrial or overturn the Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision to convict and sentence him to 12 years' jail and RM210 million fine for misappropriating RM42 million of SRC International money.

With the ruling, the Federal Court will now proceed to hear Najib's main appeal before a final decision on his fate is announced.

Najib, 69, was hoping to adduce the alleged fresh evidence before his main appeal is heard.

His lawyers had argued that the new evidence was crucial to bolster their case as it pertains mainly to allegations of bias and conflict of interest involving trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

However, Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led a five-member bench, said the judges were unanimous in their decision that the defence had failed to meet the threshold and it was not relevant to the charges faced by Najib.

She said there was nothing to show any element of bias or conflict on Nazlan's part from his previous employment in Maybank.

Tengku Maimun said the panel also disagreed that there would be a miscarriage of justice if the application was dismissed.

The other judges on the bench were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Datuk Nalini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Muhamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

In his submissions, lead prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram had described the defence's application as yet another dubious attempt to derail the progress and conclusion of the SRC case involving Najib.

He said the former Umno president had "most outrageously" resorted to trying to get his trial declared as null and void based on mere conjecture and false allegations against Justice Nazlan.

He argued that the defence's claims of wanting to introduce fresh evidence was not more than hubris.

"There is actually no fresh or additional evidence to be admitted as the applicant (Najib) and his defence team had in their possession all evidence that they now seek to introduce as additional or fresh evidence," Sithambaram had told the judges on Monday.

He reiterated his arguments today by saying that the latest application filed by the defence had broken all rules of engagement.

He said the defence was attempting to adduce worthless evidence which the court could not take into account.

However, Najib's newly-appointed lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik had argued that his client should be given the leeway to introduce the fresh evidence to prevent any miscarriage of justice.

His arguments were centered on the alleged conflict of interest involving Justice Nazlan especially on his failure to disclose his previous role as Maybank group general counsel and company secretary between 2006 and 2015.

The defence also claimed that they were only alerted to Nazlan's alleged conflict on May 9 and July 7 this year after Najib received several documents which were sent to him anonymously.

Najib was convicted by Nazlan on July 28, 2020 on seven charges of abuse of power and misappropriation of RM42million of SRC International funds.

He was sentenced to 12 years' jail and fined RM210 million and this was reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8 last year.

He is now making a final attempt to overturn the ruling against him at the Federal Court.

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