KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be the focal point on Tuesday when High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali delivers his verdict in Najib Razak’s trial on the RM42 million corruption charges relating to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Najib, 67, is the first former prime minister to be charged for a criminal offence. He gave evidence under oath for about 10 days to rebut the prosecution’s case.
Najib, who is Pekan MP, will be acquitted if Nazlan finds the defence has created a doubt in the prosecution’s case.
The judge will convict Najib in the event he finds the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Once found guilty, Najib’s status changes from innocent person to a convict, and the right to bail pending appeal is not automatic as he has to show special circumstances.
This was also in the case of Anwar Ibrahim who was found guilty of abuse of power and sodomy by the High Court about 20 years.
He failed in the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court to get bail.
Najib could remain MP should he file an appeal on conviction and sentence as the Federal Constitution provides for such circumstances.
However, he has to settle the fine imposed by the court.
Najib, 67, was ordered to enter his defence in November to charges of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on a RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Incorporated to SRC International.
This offence carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the RM42 million amount under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act.
Najib, is also facing three charges of misappropriating RM42 million of SRC International funds.
Each offence under Section 409 of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail term of up to 20 years, whipping and a fine.
He is also facing three counts of money laundering charges for receiving RM42 million which were proceeds from unlawful activities, with the offences punishable under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.
It provides a maximum 15 years’ jail, and a fine of five times the RM42 million.
All offences were allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya and at AmIslamic Bank Bhd here between 2011 and 2015.
The defence has taken the position that there was no abuse of power as Najib’s participation in the decision-making process at Cabinet meetings was above board.
Further, it contended, there was no misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC money as the amount that entered into his account was part of a donation from the Arab royal family.
The defence also contends the money laundering charges would be dropped if the court rules Najib had been cleared of any wrongdoing for abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
The 91-day trial began on April 3 last year. The prosecution called 57 witnesses to try to establish a prima facie case against Najib. The defence closed its case on March 11 after calling 19 witnesses.
Ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram led the prosecution team while counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh were the defence lawyers.