Najib denied right to fair trial, says Shafee

(FMT) – Najib Razak has been denied his right to a fair trial, the former prime minister’s lawyer said today, citing the concealment of crucial evidence in the 1MDB scandal.

Shafee Abdullah, who is Najib’s lead counsel in both the SRC International and 1MDB trials, said this evidence included revelations that some RM65 million in 1MDB-linked funds had been retrieved from a company controlled by the husband of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akthar Aziz.

In a press conference today, he also cited the US$864,813.27 (RM3.6 million) returned to the finance ministry’s Assets Recovery Trust Account, which belonged to former SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

Shafee claimed the defence was not given every document and information it was entitled to under Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He added that they would have asked the court to call Zeti as a witness had they known about the funds channelled to her husband from Low Taek Jho, the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal.

“What kind of trial did my client have? He went into a boxing match with one hand tied behind his back, in a manner of speaking. He wasn’t given his right to a fair trial,” he said.

Shafee said this “suppression of evidence” was why the defence filed a motion to the Court of Appeal to admit further evidence to be recorded and considered by the judges before delivering their decision.

The Court of Appeal is set to deliver its decision on Najib’s appeal on Dec 8.

Noting that the application was filed just days away from SRC appeal decision, he maintained that the recent revelations by the MACC and even former attorney-general Tommy Thomas had created a situation that cannot be left ignored or unanswered in defence of Najib.

He added the defence team would be seeking an urgent hearing on their motion to facilitate matters.

On why they were only filing a motion now, Shafee said they could only do so because the revelations only surfaced in the last two weeks.

He said the defence had attempted to discover more facts after Zeti’s husband was linked to the millions in funds late last year, but claimed that they had been “blocked” from doing so.

“In the last year, various investigative and prosecution authorities claimed that they did not have such evidence. And it has been kept away from us,” he said.