Najib’s appeals to be heard on March 11 and 12

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal here has set March 11 and 12 to hear four appeals by former prime minister Najib Razak to reverse a High Court ruling over the interlocutory applications in the seven criminal charges against him relating to RM42 million in SRC International funds.

Deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed said Court of Appeal registrar Norsharidah Awang fixed the dates after meeting him, deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan and lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, who is acting for Najib, in chambers today.

Budiman said Najib’s lawyer had informed the court that the defence needed 10 days from the date of receiving the appeal record on withdrawing the certificate of transfer for them to file the petition of appeal.

“The court fixed March 11 and 12 to hear the appeal, together with another three appeals by the appellant (Najib).

“The court also ordered both parties to file written submissions by March 4 or 5,” he told reporters after case mention.

Budiman said Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had also written to the Court of Appeal president yesterday to get an early hearing date for the appeals.

The Court of Appeal will hear Najib’s appeals on his application for a gag order to prohibit the media from discussing the merit of his criminal cases, his application for the recovery of documents and statements, and his challenge to the appointment of lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah as lead prosecutor in his seven charges related to SRC International.

All three applications were previously dismissed by Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

The Court of Appeal will also hear Najib’s appeal on the withdrawal of transfer certificate.

Najib filed the appeal to quash Nazlan’s decision on Feb 7 to allow the prosecution, led by Thomas, to withdraw the certificate to transfer Najib’s case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Thomas told Nazlan that the prosecution made the move due to the Federal Court’s decisions in the Semenyih Jaya and M Indira Gandhi cases in 2017 and 2018. He said these had raised doubts over the exercise of the public prosecutor’s power to transfer cases from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

He said the prosecution had withdrawn the certificate to avoid any arguments that the transfer was a nullity.

Najib filed his appeal in the Court of Appeal the same day, in a bid to set aside the ruling granting the public prosecutor to withdraw the certificate of transfer.

The Court of Appeal had been scheduled to hear Najib’s three appeals on Feb 7. However, the hearing was adjourned as Najib’s lawyer requested that the appeal on the withdrawal of the certificate of transfer be heard first.

The Court of Appeal then fixed March 11 and 12 to hear the three appeals.

On July 4 last year, Najib, who is Pekan MP, was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one of abusing his position over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

On Aug 8 last year, he was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same amount of money.

His SRC International trial, which was scheduled to begin on Feb 12, was adjourned after the Court of Appeal allowed his application to stay the trial pending the outcome of his appeal on the withdrawal of the transfer certificate.