KUALA LUMPUR– Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will know on Monday the outcome on his bid to quash the seven charges he is facing in relation to RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.
High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali fixed the date after hearing submissions by Najib’s lawyers Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden and Datuk Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin and ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram.
Mohd Yusof, former Solicitor-General II, submitted that the prosecution must be clear and specific when framing charges to enable the accused to know exactly the case against him.
“Otherwise, he won’t be able to effectively prepare his defence. The CBT (criminal breach of trust) charges against Najib did not specify how the offence was allegedly committed, noting that there are five possible ways under Section 405 of the Penal Code including dishonestly misappropriating, converting for own use, or dishonest use of a property,” he said.
Mohd Yusof pointed out that the CBT charges were not specifically saying that Najib must know if he was accused of committing the offences as an agent in his combined roles of prime minister, finance minister and SRC International advisor emeritus or as a result of each position separately.
He contended that the prosecution could not charge Najib with two different offences, of CBT and abusing his position to receive a bribe over the same RM42 million at the same time.
“It is an either-or situation. If you charge criminal breach of trust, you have to show entrustment of money under him and he misappropriated or the money was never under his control but he abused his position and had received gratification as stated in the charge,” he said.
He also argued that Najib could not be put on trial for money-laundering while also facing charges of CBT or abusing his position, as he would allegedly not be able to defend himself.
Meanwhile, Kamarul Hisham argued that charges of corruption could not be tried concurrently with CBT.
“Parliament created specific different laws for different crimes, so that it is fair to bring charges under each law. Our client has the right to obtain the details of the charges from the prosecution so that he can raise his defence at the earliest opportune time,” he said.
Sithambaram countered that the charges were not vague, as they should be read together with supplementary documents furnished by the prosecution as per Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
“(The) Prosecution had supplied 7,000 pages of documents to be used in trial. So far, 21 witnesses have testified and were cross-examined by the defence, with no complaints of lack of clarity regarding the charges. But now they complain.
“I don’t think the prosecution misled the accused to the extent that there would be a miscarriage of justice. Even, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had previously agreed on a joinder of the Penal Code, money-laundering and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) charges.
“When the prosecution was making an application for all three files to be consolidated and jointly tried, Muhammad Shafee said the the prosecution’s application for a joinder of the charges were necessary.
“Muhammad Shafee said he confirmed that the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) charges that have been preferred are in fact charges that are in the same transaction and therefore can be tried together,” he said adding that the defence were only complaining on the charges now.
Joinder in criminal law refers to the inclusion of additional counts or additional defendants on an indictment
Najib, 66, is charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.
On April 3, Justice Mohd Nazlan dismissed Najib’s application to have his notice of motion to declare the seven charges against him as defective to be heard first, before the commencement of the trial.