Malaysia’s Court of Appeal upholds ex-PM Najib Razak’s guilty conviction

Najib, 68, who maintains he is innocent, is out on bail.

Nadirah H. Rodzi

Nadirah H. Rodzi

The Straits Times


Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 18, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

December 8, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday (Dec 8) upheld a high court’s decision to convict former prime minister Najib Razak on all seven charges and sentencing in the RM42 million (S$13.6 million) SRC International case.

The verdict was delivered through a “hybrid-style” hearing by Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who said that the decision to convict Najib of all seven counts in the trial last July was correct.

This was manifested by the flow of the RM42 million from SRC International into the former premier’s personal account.

“We agree entirely with the learned trial judge that there is overwhelming evidence which establishes his personal interest… We found no good reason to disagree with that finding.

“We dismiss the appeal on all seven charges and affirm the conviction,” Datuk Abdul Karim told the court in delivering the verdict.

Mr Abdul Karim also said the Arab donation was “a concoction” due to the appellant’s failure to provide evidence to ensure official confirmation of the intended donations from King Abdullah.

Previously, Najib had claimed that he had received a personal donation from the Arab royalty, testifying that the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had pledged his support to Malaysia during a meeting in early 2010.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined US$50 million (S$68 million) in July last year for illegally receiving about US$10 million from SRC International, a former unit of now-defunct 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

He was found guilty of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering.

Najib, 68, who maintains he is innocent, is out on bail.

He can appeal further to the Federal Court, his last legal recourse.

Najib was granted a stay of execution, allowing him to stay out of prison pending his appeal to the Federal Court.

Earlier on Tuesday, the defence applied to postpone that day’s hearing on the basis that a member of its legal team had tested positive for Covid-19.

But the bid was denied by the appellate court, who also issued an ultimatum for Najib to appear via Zoom for proceedings, and then dismissed his application to adduce new evidence to the case.

A three-man bench led by Mr Abdul Karim had ruled that the additional evidence was not necessary, following lengthy submissions by the defence and prosecution.

Under Section 15A of Court and Judicature Act (Amended), the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court are allowed to conduct proceedings through a live video or television link, or any other electronic means of communication.

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