PUTRAJAYA: Najib Razak has filed an appeal to reverse the finding of a High Court judge who earlier today allowed the public prosecutor to withdraw his certificate to transfer his seven charges in relation to SRC International.
The former prime minister’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said the notice of appeal was filed this afternoon and accompanied by a certificate of urgency.
“Tomorrow, he will also file a stay in the Court of Appeal to stop the trial scheduled on Feb 12,” he told reporters after a Court of Appeal proceeding.
This morning, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali used his discretion under Section 417 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to bring back the charges from the Session Court for him to hear the cases.
Nazlan also refused Najib’s oral application to stay the trial pending the outcome of his appeal in the Court of Appeal.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who is also the public prosecutor, had issued a certificate under Section 418A of the CPC to transfer Najib’s cases from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
However, in view of the Federal Court’s decisions in the cases concerning Semenyih Jaya (2017) and M Indira Gandhi (2018), Thomas said he was withdrawing the certificate to avoid any possible argument that the transfer (from the Sessions Court to the High Court) was a nullity.
He said Nazlan could use his discretion (suo motu) under Section 417 of the CPC to transfer these cases before his court.
Nazlan also allowed Thomas’s application to give Najib a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on three money laundering charges framed against him on Jan 28.
The Pekan MP is expected to be charged again in the Sessions Court soon.
Shafee accused Thomas of bungling in carrying out his task, especially in the proceeding earlier today.
“He never informed us beforehand he was withdrawing the three charges and the certificate,” he said, adding that all preparations by the defence had gone to waste.
Shafee said he was ready to raise a preliminary objection today on the three charges but Thomas told the High Court it was unnecessary.
“This is all a drama. By the way, who is delaying the trial?” he asked, adding that the defence was ready for the case to start next week.
“If a lawyer does such a thing, he will be told off,” he said.
He said the entire proceeding in the High Court was a nullity the moment he withdrew the certificate to transfer the cases, and that the judge (Nazlan) had no business to conduct the trial.
Shafee said the three appeals related to Najib’s application for a gag order to prohibit the media from discussing the merits of his case, his application for the discovery of documents and statements, and over his challenge to the appointment of Sulaiman Abdullah as the prosecutor would be heard on March 11 and 12.
“The priority is for the Court of Appeal to hear the appeal against the High Court decision to allow the public prosecutor to withdraw the certificate and for the judge to take it upon himself to hear the cases,” he said.
Najib is facing six charges linked to money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million into his account from former 1MDB unit SRC International.
He is also accused of abusing his power as the prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc.