July 24, 2024

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Changing horses in midstream strategy gone wrong in Najib’s appeal – DPP


PUTRAJAYA, Feb 27 — The Federal Court here today was told that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd appeal had gone wrong when he ‘changed horses in midstream’ last year.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram was referring to the changing of lawyers from Shafee & Co to a new legal team comprising Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, as well as counsel from Messr Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners (ZIST).

He said Najib was represented by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from the High Court level of the SRC International case in 2018 and only changed lawyers in 2022 prior to the hearing of the appeal before the Federal Court in August last year.


“If not for this changing of horses, I do not think this (review) would be before Your Lordship today. While it is the accused’s right to choose counsel, the counsel must be ready to act and willing to act on the given day. The truth is they did not want to go on with the case, that’s why they wanted the adjournment,” he said.

On Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s previous position in Maybank Bhd, the prosecutor said it was never a secret and Mohd Nazlan’s role in the bank was irrelevant to the SRC International case against Najib.

“It was certainly no subject of this review,” said the prosecutor.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Shafee replied that it was the first time the change of counsel had happened in Najib’s case and it was done in good faith (bona fide).

In fact, he said the change of counsel was due to local courts not allowing Jonathan Laidlaw, the Queen’s Counsel from the United Kingdom to be temporarily admitted to the Bar and represent Najib in the final appeal.

“Thus, there is no agenda to engineer adjournment,” insisted the veteran counsel.

The duo submitted this before the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, who chaired a five-member panel which included Federal Court judges Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Nordin Hassan and Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abu Bakar Jais.

Najib, in his review application, is seeking to overturn the decision made by a five-member bench of the Federal Court led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat on Aug 23 last year in upholding his conviction and 12-year jail sentence and fine.

The hearing continues tomorrow at 9 am.

NMT as reported by Bernama