Government goes to Federal Court to set aside Najib stay order

PUTRAJAYA: The government has gone to the Federal Court to set aside an order to delay Najib Razak’s SRC International trial pending an appeal.

Deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed said the apex court had fixed April 8 to set aside the stay order.

“The date was fixed after case management before Federal Court deputy registrar Azniza Ali,” he told reporters.

On Feb 11, a three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Ahmadi Asnawi, allowed Najib’s application to postpone his trial on seven charges pending the determination of an appeal against the public prosecutor’s withdrawal of his certificate of transfer.

Budiman said the appeal to set aside the Court of Appeal decision was filed on Feb 12.

He said the prosecution would now have to wait for the Court of Appeal to provide its written grounds before it can file the petition of appeal.

Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee, who represented Najib, said the defence also needed the judgment to oppose the appeal.

Najib’s trial, scheduled for 33 days, was supposed to run from Feb 12 to March 29.

On Feb 7, however, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed the public prosecutor to withdraw his certificate to transfer the charges faced by Najib from the High Court to the Sessions Court.

The judge then used his discretion to transfer the cases back to his court, for him to preside over the trial.

The defence has taken the position that Attorney-General Tommy Thomas was wrong to withdraw the certificate and that Nazlan should have left it to the registry to decide which High Court judge should hear the transfer of the case.

Najib faces six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million into his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.