KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who presided over former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case, has been transferred from the criminal court back to the civil court.
According to a circular issued by the Bar Council to all members of the Bar, yesterday, the transfer order was issued by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed.
The Federal Court Chief Registrar’s Office (PKPMP) today confirmed Mohd Nazlan’s transfer to the civil court, which takes effect March 1, 2021.
“Transfers are a normal practice for judges. The transfer of Yang Arif (YA) (His Honour in English) Mohd Nazlan to the Civil Court is to replace YA Wong Chee Lin who will be retiring,” PKPMP said in a statement today.
It said YA Mohd Nazlan was a Commercial High Court justice before being transferred to the Criminal High Court and has extensive experience and expertise on matters related to civil and criminal cases.
“Apart from this, there are just about 30 cases left at the Criminal High Court 3 and that court can be closed,” the statement said.
It added that the cases being heard by Mohd Nazlan will continue to be presided by him until they are settled even if the proceedings have to go past the effective date of his transfer (March 1).
In July 2018, Mohd Nazlan was transferred from the New Commercial Court 1 (NCC) to the Criminal High Court 3 to preside over Najib’s RM42 million SRC International case.
He took over from the previous judge, Datuk Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak.
It was reported that the Malaysian Bar had called for Mohd Sofian to recuse himself from the case as his elder brother, Mohd Soffi, held a position in Umno as well as the Pahang state government.
Najib is also the Member of Parliament for Pekan and former president of Umno.
The PKPMP, in a statement on July 6, 2018, had said that the selection of Mohd Sofian to preside over Najib’s trial was done randomly through its e-filing portal.
Meanwhile, former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram when contacted also said transfers of judges are very common in the judiciary.
On July 28 last year, Mohd Nazlan handed down a guilty verdict against Najib, who was Malaysia’s sixth prime minister, on seven charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of position involving RM42 million in SRC International funds.
Apart from Najib’s SRC International case, Mohd Nazlan is also presiding over other high profile cases.
He is set to deliver his decision on February 3 in the case involving former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, who faced nine corruption charges, involving RM3 million over the purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) in Kuching, Sarawak.
On December 7 last year, Mohd Nazlan had also granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor involving a RM1 million corruption case after the prosecution decided to discontinue the case against Tengku Adnan.