Puad questions ‘undignified’ Bar Council over silence on Nazlan

(Malaysiakini) – Rengit assemblyperson Mohd Puad Zarkashi has questioned why the Bar Council has kept mum on developments surrounding judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Labelling the Bar Council as “undignified” and “lacking integrity”, Puad claimed the Bar Council was “selective” in the issues it defended.

“The body should have demanded the creation of a tribunal to investigate Nazlan.

“It is very strange why from the beginning, the Bar Council did not demand that Nazlan recuse himself from hearing Najib’s SRC case,” he said, referring to the former premier’s corruption trial in which Najib was found guilty.

Puad noted that the Bar Council had urged the previous judge presiding over the SRC International Bhd case, Mohd Sofian Abd Razak, to withdraw from the hearing as he is brothers with Pahang exco Mohd Soffi Abd Razak.

Additionally, Puad cited Nazlan’s conflict of interest from being the general counsel and company secretary to the Maybank group.

Maybank Investment Bank Bhd was the body that proposed the establishment of SRC International.

“The minutes of the Maybank board of directors meeting, which Nazlan attended, have now been leaked. During the talk, Nazlan claimed that SRC was a ‘baby’ to Najib.

“It turns out Nazlan was involved – as SRC was founded by Maybank Investment. 1MDB had appointed Maybank to study the establishment of SRC through its subsidiary Bina Fikir.

“Previously, some judges recused themselves from hearing cases in which they were alleged to have an interest over. Why didn’t Nazlan do the same?” Puad asked.

Four judicial commissioners – Quay Chew Soon, Liza Chan Sow Keng, Mohd Arief Emran Arifin and Adlin Abdul Majid – previously withdrew their involvement in either 1MDB or SRC trials.

‘Too much controversy’

Puad urged the Bar Council to speak out and for Nazlan to be investigated by a special tribunal – with his judgment on Najib’s SRC case dropped.

“There’s too much controversy involving Nazlan. The people want immediate action. What is the progress of the money-laundering investigation involving him?” he said.

It was reported in April that Nazlan was being investigated over claims that he had allegedly received RM1 million from 1MDB-linked fugitive Low Taek Jho, who is better known as Jho Low.

According to a statement by the Federal Court Chief Registrar’s Office, Nazlan, in his April 21 police report, denied the allegations as false and malicious.

Najib’s conviction

On July 28, 2020, then High Court judge Nazlan had found Najib guilty on one charge of abuse of position as then premier, three counts of criminal breach of trust and three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million of funds from SRC.

On Dec 8 last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed Najib’s appeal to overturn the lower court’s decision.

The Federal Court has since set 10 days in August to hear Najib’s final appeal to quash his conviction and sentence in the SRC case.