PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal here today set March 11 and 12 to hear four appeals by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to reverse a High Court’s ruling over the interlocutory applications in Najib’s seven criminal charges relating to SRC International Sdn Bhd funds totalling RM42 million.
Deputy Public Prosecutor, Budiman Lutfi Mohamed said Court of Appeal Registrar Datuk Norsharidah Awang fixed the dates after meeting him, DPP Muhammad Izzat Fauzan and lawyer Harvinderjit Singh who is acting for Najib in the chambers.
Budiman said Najib’s lawyer had informed the court that the defence needed 10 days from the date they (defence) received the appeal record on withdrawing a certificate of transfer for them to file the petition of appeal.
“Therefore, the court fixed March 11 and 12 to hear the appeal together with another three appeals by the appellant (Najib). The court also ordered both parties to file written submissions by March 4 or 5,” he told reporters after the case was mentioned in chambers.
Budiman also said Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had written a letter to the Court of Appeal President on Wednesday to get an early hearing date on the appeals.
On the two days, the Court of Appeal would hear the appeals by Najib on his application for a gag order to prohibit the media from discussing the merits of his criminal cases; his application for the recovery of documents and statements and his challenge on the appointment of lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah as the lead prosecutor in his seven charges pertaining to SRC International.
All the three applications were dismissed by Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali
The Court of Appeal would also to hear Najib’s appeal on the withdrawal of transfer certificate.
Najib filed the appeal to quash Mohd Nazlan’s decision on Feb 7, to allow the prosecution led by Thomas to withdraw the certificate to transfer Najib’s case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
Thomas informed Mohd Nazlan that the prosecution made the move due to the Federal Court’s decisions in the Semenyih Jaya (2017) and M. Indira Gandhi (2018) cases, which raised a doubt in respect of the exercise of the powers by the Public Prosecutor to transfer a case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
He said the prosecution withdrew the certificate to avoid any possible argument that the transfer was a nullity.
Najib subsequently filed the appeal to the Court of Appeal on the same day in a bid to set aside the High Court ruling granting the public prosecutor to withdraw the certificate of transfer.
On Feb 7, the Court of Appeal was scheduled to hear the three appeals by Najib, however the hearing was adjourned as Najib’s lawyer had requested the appeal on the withdrawal of the certificate of transfer to be heard first.
The Court of Appeal then fixed March 11 and 12 to hear the three appeals.
On July 4 last year, the 66-year old Pekan MP was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abusing his position over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.
On Aug 8 last year, he was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same amount of money.
His SRC’s trial which was scheduled to commence on Feb 12 was adjourned after the Court of Appeal allowed Najib’s application to stay the trial pending the outcome of his appeal on the withdrawal of the transfer certificate.