PUTRAJAYA (Aug 16): Lawyers for former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak have rested their submissions to adduce fresh evidence in the final appeal in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, after lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik wrapped up before the five-judge bench in the Federal Court here on Tuesday morning (Aug 16).
They are now waiting for a decision from the bench.
Hisyam submitted in the morning that if this application to adduce new evidence in relation to then High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s conflict of interest in the SRC trial is not allowed, justice will be compromised.
He also denied the prosecution’s contention that this is a “scandalous” application, and one that is made “in bad faith”.
It is Najib’s contention that Nazlan — who sentenced him to 12 years' jail and a RM210 million fine in the High Court stage of the SRC trial — had a conflict of interest in hearing the case, because during Nazlan’s tenure as a general counsel and company secretary of Maybank from 2006 to 2015, the bank gave a RM140 million loan to Putra Perdana Development — where SRC was a beneficiary — as well as a RM4.17 billion loan to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) for the acquisition of Tanjong Energy.
Najib is seeking to adduce fresh evidence in the trial by calling five witnesses to be freshly examined and cross-examined. The witnesses include three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers who recorded Nazlan's statement. Besides this, the defence is seeking evidence from former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, and Rosli Hussain, the SRC investigating officer for the MACC.
Alternatively, Najib is seeking a retrial, and that his case be heard before a new trial judge in the High Court.
Hisyam highlighted to the bench in the morning, which was led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, that recusal of judges is done to ensure the integrity of the judiciary.
He added that in the past, judges had decided to recuse themselves for possible involvement. He cited some cases, including those involved in 1MDB and SRC civil cases.
"How can we dispute that Justice Nazlan was with Maybank. His role was clear.
"When there is a positive assertion and this is not contradicted [by the prosecution], it should be accepted. This is fundamental law," he added.
Earlier, lead prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram said that Najib’s affidavits in making the application for fresh evidence are scandalous, and the court need not go into the merits of the application.
"The court need not go into the merits of Najib's application. The court should admit relevant evidence, and not admit irrelevant evidence.
"The contents of the affidavits are irrelevant in the appeal. In addition, Najib must prove he has knowledge to what is affirmed but here, he has not shown that," Sithambaram added.
Tengku Maimun — who is leading the bench with Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, and three Federal Court judges, namely Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah — then asked for the court to stand down while the five of them deliberate the matter in chambers before giving their decision.
Should Najib fail in this application, his appeal proper will commence before the court. However, it was previously indicated by Najib’s legal team that they will seek an adjournment of the main appeal as they need time to prepare.
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