Najib seeks to nullify SRC conviction, cites judge’s alleged conflict of interest

(FMT) – Former prime minister Najib Razak is seeking to nullify his conviction in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, citing judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s alleged conflict of interest.

At a press conference outside the court complex here, Najib said he has instructed his legal team led by lawyer Shafee Abdullah to apply to adduce new evidence in his trial.

This comes amid reports that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has opened an investigation about an unexplained sum of more than RM1 million in judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s bank account.

Nazlan is the trial judge who convicted Najib when the SRC International case was heard at the High Court.

Nazlan has lodged a police report over the allegations, saying they were “false, baseless and malicious” and aimed at undermining his credibility as a judge.

In 2020, Nazlan convicted Najib and sentenced him to a 12-year jail term and a RM210 million fine.

Najib’s appeal is pending before the Federal Court.

Shafee said the application was supported by an affidavit from Najib and contained serious allegations that the Pekan MP did not get a fair trial in the High Court.

He said they had found that SRC International was created by Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, a subsidiary of Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), which was employed to conduct “advisory research”.

This, he said, was also jointly conducted by a subsidiary of Maybank Investment, BinaFikir Sdn Bhd.

“But more interestingly, we found that Nazlan was in Maybank during the relevant period. He was at one stage the general counsel and company secretary for the whole Maybank Group, until he resigned.

“This means he would have had actual knowledge of how Maybank was involved in the formation and structuring of SRC International,” Shafee said.

Shafee also said they discovered that the RM42 million remitted into Najib’s account, which made up part of his initial charges, was part of a RM140 million loan facility given by Maybank to Putra Perdana Development (PPD), and was not from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).

He said Nazlan, the prosecution and relevant enforcement agency failed to reveal this, although the judge would have had some knowledge of the loan facility given by Maybank.

He added that Nazlan was also Maybank’s general counsel when they approved a RM4.17 billion loan facility to 1MDB for the acquisition of independent power producer Tanjong Energy Holdings Sdn Bhd.

“This would put justice Nazlan in the position of being a potential witness in the 1MDB case. Najib was charged in the sessions court over the 1MDB case on Sept 20, 2018, when the SRC trial had not even begun.

“Despite having personal knowledge of his involvement in the loan to 1MDB and knowing that Najib was being tried in a different High Court (for the 1MDB case) where he could be a potential witness, Nazlan failed to make a declaration of his personal involvement or interest in this case.”

Shafee wanted the apex court to hear their application before presiding over Najib’s appeal against the High Court’s decision, saying if the Federal Court agreed with them, Nazlan’s ruling would be nullified due to a breach of the rule against bias.

“There’s a real danger of bias because the judge was equipped with knowledge of SRC International and 1MDB. He shouldn’t have heard the case. He should have disqualified himself.

“Najib never had a chance in the (High Court) trial because the trial was unfair, as the judge who presided had massive conflicts of interest in at least three to four areas,” said Shafee.