Najib fails to stay IRB’s bid to recover RM1.69 bil

The High Court is of the opinion that former prime minister Najib Razak has no strong grounds for the stay as he has failed to show special circumstances.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has dismissed Najib Razak’s application to stay the Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) suit for summary judgment to recover RM1.69 billion in income tax pending an appeal before a special commissioner of the tax agency.

Judge Ahmad Bache said the court was of the opinion that the former prime minister had no strong grounds for the stay as he had failed to show special circumstances.

“The purported special circumstances argument advanced by the defendant (Najib) failed to fulfil the nugatory test,” he said.

Further, he said the government had the monetary ability to compensate Najib should he succeed in his appeal before the special commissioner.

“The defendant (Najib) has not shown any cogent evidence to prove the plaintiff’s (government) inability to pay,” he added.

Ahmad said Najib’s fear of losing his Pekan parliamentary seat due to potential bankruptcy proceedings also did not constitute special circumstances.

Article 48 of the Federal Constitution states that an elected representative – MP or assemblyman – can be disqualified if declared a bankrupt.

Ahmad also awarded RM15,000 in costs to the government.

The IRB ordered Najib to pay RM1.69 billion in unpaid tax, with interest at 5% a year for the years 2011 to 2017, which he did not.

On June 25 last year, the government, through the IRB, filed a summary judgment against Najib seeking him to pay the amount together with the interest from the date of judgment.

The judgment is to be obtained without contest.

On Aug 8, Najib filed the application for a stay of proceedings of IRB’s suit pending an appeal on the tax assessment to the special commissioner.

However, the IRB, in its supporting affidavit, said that Najib still has to pay the RM1.69 billion even if he has filed an appeal against the tax assessment to the special commissioner.