Selangor Journal
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen during the break of his court proceeding at the Federal Court, Putrajaya, on August 15, 2022. — Picture by REUTERS

Apex court’s verdict brings closure to Najib’s SRC case, says Sithambaram

PUTRAJAYA, March 31 — The Federal Court’s dismissal of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to review his conviction and sentence would bring final closure to the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, said lead prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram.

He said today’s ruling was also a vindication that the charges against the former prime minister were legally mounted and not politically motivated.

“There is always the question of how we feel as the prosecution. There is no joy for the successful prosecution (other) than ensuring that the rule of law has prevailed in this case.

“To other politicians and other likely offenders, this prosecution has shown that no man in this land is above the law.

“This successful prosecution must send a chilling message to all would-be offenders that the law will catch up to you and punish the guilty,” Sithambaram said during a press conference at the Palace of Justice lobby.

Earlier, the Federal Court in a 4 – 1 majority judgment dismissed Najib’s application to review his conviction and sentence of 12 years’ jail and RM210 million fine for misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds.

The majority decision was read out by Federal Court judge Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and agreed to by Federal Court judges Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Nordin Hassan and Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abu Bakar Jais.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, who chaired the five-member bench, dissented.

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex to represent former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial, Kuala Lumpur, on May 17, 2021. — Picture by BERNAMA

Meanwhile, Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the dissenting judgment would open another avenue in his client’s case. However, he declined to confirm whether a second review application would be filed.

“This is not the end of the matter. There can be another court proceeding. As a result of the minority judgment, there is an avenue that is opened.

“There are cases where the review was not only done once. As long as there are grounds for a fresh review, it can be done,” he said at a press conference here.

Muhammad Shafee said the minority judgment had given him a lot of encouragement.

He said following their application to the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD), it was learnt that the process had started and there was a move to ask the Attorney-General to respond.

“We will send a further document on the minority and majority judgments to UNWGAD, so that it will be examined to find out which one looks more sound,” Muhammad Shafee added.

Najib, 69, who is currently serving his 12-year jail term in Kajang prison, had filed the application for a review to overturn the decision made by the previous panel of the Federal Court, led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, on August 23 last year.

Besides that, he had also filed for a royal pardon in September last year.

On January 5 this year, he also filed a petition before UNWGAD to ask for release from prison or retrial of his SRC International case following an appeal hearing at the Federal Court which he claimed had serious defects and was contrary to the rules of international justice.

— Bernama

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