There’s nothing political , just hard cold facts , not one but four judges have found the ex-PM Najib Razak guilty says DPP Sithambaram . He expects at least six months for the appeal process to be exhausted. The next and final stop ~ the Federal court.- Melgoh
Guilty!!! – Najib should blame his wife Rosmah for prematurely insulting the Judiciary...
Signs of trouble for former Prime Minister Najib Razak were as clear as daylight about 24 hours before a three-member Court of Appeal was scheduled to deliver its verdict today (8 December, 2021). Najib’s defence team suddenly wanted to add more evidence in his appeal at the eleventh hour, something quite extraordinary and obviously another attempt to delay the court.
Something must have had gone wrong when Najib’s top legal eagles led by Shafee Abdullah, someone whom the ex-PM self-proclaimed as a “hotshot lawyer”, scrambled at the last minute to convince the court to postpone the hearing, so much so he used Covid-19 as an excuse again. But Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who was leading the three-man bench, did not buy the childish story.
Not only the Court of Appeal, the Malaysian second highest court, denied the defence’s evil attempt to postpone the hearing, but also issued an ultimatum for Mr Najib to appear via Zoom for proceedings. Either Najib obediently proceeds or risk having his bail cancelled, after which the court will issue a warrant of arrest for the ex-PM to be brought to court.
To the defence’s horror, the court also threw away his application to adduce new evidence. Najib, the former premier who lost power in the 2018 General Election at the peak of 1MDB scandal, was earlier found guilty on July 28, 2020 of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering – all involving RM42 million stolen from SRC International Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of 1MDB).
Najib, who walked the corridors of power from 2009 to 2018, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse of power, and 10 years in jail for each of six counts of money laundering and breach of trust (CBT). Additionally, Najib was fined RM210 million, and will serve an additional 5 years if he fails to pay. He was given a total of 72 years in prison – the first former PM to be convicted.
However, because the judge had allowed the jail sentences to run concurrently, Najib is looking at a jail term of only 12 years. Much to people’s dissatisfaction, he was allowed to walk away a free man pending his appeal in the Court of Appeal, failing which he could still appeal to the Federal Court, the highest court and the final appellate court in the country.
For more than 16 months since the guilty verdict was delivered by High Court Judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, Najib’s defence team has deployed dozens of delay tactics to ensure the crook’s political survival, including the plot to overthrow Muhyiddin Yassin. After Muhyiddin was prematurely ejected as prime minister, all signs showed a favourable appeal verdict for Najib.
Today, the Court of Appeal upheld Najib Razak’s conviction, delivering a stunning blow to the crook’s plan for a political comeback. Delivered through a “hybrid-style” hearing, Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who chaired the three-man bench alongside Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, basically said they could not find any good reason to disagree with the verdict of the High Court.
We had previously published Najib’s top-8 lies that were so extraordinary that they might backfire and incriminate him (read here), as well as 10 points any first year law student can use to nail the crook and send him to jail (read here). And it seems the Court of Appeal was satisfied that any of them could be used to counter the defence’s weak argument that its client is innocent.
With overwhelming evidence against him, it didn’t take much effort for the court to deliver its “guilty” verdict. For example, all the three senior judges were convinced that Najib was the big boss behind SRC International because only a prime minister cum finance minister had the power to instruct the SRC board to divert funds, included RM4 billion loans from KWAP (Retirement Fund Inc.).
Najib had even modified the Constitution of SRC International to make himself the “adviser emeritus”. Crucially, Najib agreed with the money trail that showed the flow of the RM42 million from SRC into the former premier’s personal bank account. He had spent all the money instead of lodging police reports, despite his hilarious claim that he had no idea who gave him the money.
The most ridiculous lie – Arab donation – was rubbished by the Court of Appeal altogether. Judge Abdul Karim said the donation from the King of Saudi Arabia was “a concoction”, due to the defence’s failure to provide evidence to confirm that the RM42 million was indeed originated from the Saudi royal family. Because the authenticity of Arab letters cannot be established, the donation remained hearsay and inadmissible.
In fact, the judges found that the so-called letters from one Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud on behalf of the King of Saudi Arabia were so faked that the letters clearly show that they are nothing but a fabrication. The court also rejected Najib’s claims that he was acting in the national interest, a political propaganda cooked to hoodwink gullible supporters, and called it a “national embarrassment” instead.
Court of Appeal - Judge Abdul Karim, Has Zanah, Vazeer Alam
But the burning question is how could the verdict take such a huge twist, which until today, suggested that Najib is likely to be freed? Since UMNO vice president Ismail Sabri took over the premiership from Muhyiddin, practically all UMNO crooks charged for corruption have been acquitted one after another. Heck, even the lame duck PM Ismail almost appoints Najib as his economic advisor.
The return of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) to the driver seat, despite a humiliating defeat in the last national election, also saw how the weak premier unexpected granted Rosmah, Najib’s wife popularly known as Imelda Marcos of Malaysia, a special privilege to fly to Singapore to be with her daughter who was expected to give birth in the foreign country.
To add salt to injury, even Najib, a convicted criminal, was given the same privilege to fly to Singapore, after the government stunningly and ridiculously awarded the ex-premier with RM100 million worth of land the size of two soccer fields, along with a mansion to be built with taxpayers’ money. Only in Malaysia can you see a crook is given gifts for stealing money.
Naturally, the ex-PM was upset with the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his conviction, saying he was “very, very disappointed” with not only the verdict, but also the court’s judgement labelling him a “national embarrassment”. He ordered his lawyers to immediately file an appeal at the Federal Court. Najib should not blame everyone, but his own wife – Rosmah Mansor.
The problem with the Najib-Rosmah couple is that they could not stop flaunting their wealth, and in this case their arrogance of power. When Rosmah was first allowed to access her passport temporarily to travel to Singapore, High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan had specifically ordered that the passport be used from October 15 until December 6.
The strict conditions also say Rosmah can only leave for Singapore from October 22 and she must return to the country by November 21. That’s a 1-month special privilege that ordinary people do not enjoy. However, the despicable wife of Najib deliberately refused to return on the agreed date and even missed her Court of Appeal hearing on December 2, telling the court to wait till December 6.
On November 29, their daughter Nooryana Najwa posted a photo on Facebook showing her newborn child being held by Najib with Rosmah. It was a deliberate contempt of court. Despite having breached the November 21 deadline, the disgraced daughter of Najib-Rosmah had the cheek to show off on social media – sending a message that they are “untouchable”.
Believing that Najib will be freed today, Rosmah did not even bother to ask for an extension of the High Court’s initial order. Rosmah’s lawyer, Jagjit Singh, conveniently said it was due to “miscommunication” after lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram, a former Federal Court judge, recommended that the Court of Appeal issues an arrest warrant and cancel Rosmah’s bail.
By the time Rosmah returned on December 6, she had already spent an additional 14 days (2 weeks) in Singapore – shopping and enjoying herself. Not only she successfully shows how useless the “Judicial System” is, the wife of Najib had also mocked, insulted and disrespected both High Court judge Mohamed Zaini, as well as a three-judge bench chaired by Court of Appeal Judge Hanipah Farikullah.
When you have a convicted ex-PM’s wife who gave the middle finger to both High Court and Court of Appeal, it’s extremely hard for the Court of Appeal to deliver a positive verdict for Najib, even if a deal had been struck with PM Ismail Sabri to help free the world’s biggest crook. After Rosmah’s contempt of court, it will be too obvious if the Court of Appeal dramatically frees Najib.
Still, all is not lost. The Federal Court, notorious for reversing lower court’s rulings in order to deliver a favourable outcome for the Barisan Nasional ruling government, could help Najib. In order to create a perception of judiciary independence, it has been part of the script to allow the opposition to win most of the cases up to the High Court or Court of Appeal, only to see the Federal Court creates an upset.
That explains why Najib’s hotshot attorney, Shafee Abdullah, said he was very confident that the Federal Court will overturn the decision made by the Court of Appeal today. He said that in his career, about 50% of the time the decision was reversed at the Federal Court. Of course, Najib is upset because his chance has been reduced to 50:50, instead of 70:30 before the Court of Appeal’s verdict today.
However, the Court of Appeal’s decision to grant Najib a stay of execution, allowing him to remain out of prison pending his final appeal could send the wrong message that not only the former premier is given special privileges that ordinary people are denied, but also that the ball is being passed to the Federal Court because no judges dare to send Najib to prison for fear of revenge if UMNO wins the 15th General Election.
For now, it appears that not even his grandchild could bring any luck to Najib Razak. His wife should not have overplayed her hand after being given the special treatment to travel to Singapore. At the very least, she should have pretended that she respects the judiciary system, until such time that her husband is officially freed. Perhaps Rosmah has forgotten that his husband has yet to become the prime minister again. - FT