Najib should’ve been discharged after AG withdrew transfer certificates, says Shafee

Senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

PUTRAJAYA: Najib Razak’s lawyers today argued that the High Court should have given him a discharge in the RM42 million SRC International case after Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas withdrew the certificate of transfer several days before the trial was scheduled to begin.

Senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said since Thomas withdrew his certificates, the legal validity of the proceedings had been impaired.

“Withdrawing the certificates has a lot of implications on the proceedings and constitutional issues.

“The AG can always recharge him (Najib) so we can start all over again,” he told the Court of Appeal here.

Najib is appealing against Thomas’ decision last month to withdraw his certificates to transfer the SRC International cases to the High Court.

Speaking today, Shafee provided a chronology of the cases, from the day Najib was charged on July 4 last year, until Feb 7 when the certificates were withdrawn.

“In between, the prosecution brought three more money laundering charges against him at the High Court, but these were later withdrawn because they realised it was wrong and illegal to do that at this level,” he said.

Najib was subsequently charged at the Sessions Court again over the RM47 million money laundering accusations.

The former prime minister faces a total of 42 charges over SRC International and 1MDB funds, the altered 1MDB audit report, and the misuse of government funds for the settlement with International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

Shafee also said High Court judge Nazlan Ghazali, in allowing Thomas to withdraw the transfer certificates, should not have brought the SRC International cases before him again.

“The judge was misguided by the AG, acting as the public prosecutor, on the powers he has under Section 417(2) of Criminal Procedure Code.

“The powers he has are only to transfer the SRC cases to any High Court, not his High Court,” he said, adding that the judge’s action could be interpreted as an attempt to take over the chief judge of Malaya’s authority to assign judges to hear cases.

Shafee also said Nazlan had written a “second judgment” after allowing the withdrawal of the certificates.

“The 20-page judgment was written after the withdrawal, and he also wrote a one-page judgment for that.

“Under our common law, it is forbidden for a second judgment to be produced after the judge has written his judgment,” he said.

Lawyer Harvinderjit Singh meanwhile argued that there is no provision under the Criminal Procedure Code for Thomas to transfer a High Court case to the Sessions Court.

Najib is also appealing against the dismissal of a gag order on the media and public to prevent them from discussing the merits of his case. He is, in addition, seeking to compel the government to produce the appointment letter of fiat prosecutor for the SRC International cases, Sulaiman Abdullah.

The hearing continues on Monday before three panel judges led by Zabariah Mohd Yusof. Others on the panel are Rhodzariah Bujang and Lau Bee Lan.

Thomas will continue with the prosecution’s argument on why he withdrew the certificates of transfer.