Yet another dreary Wednesday (Aug 8) for former Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Razak as he was faced with three new charges of money laundering at the High Court.
According to The Star, the new charges will be merged with the prior four charges read to Najib on July 4 (Wednesday) which accounted three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power in relation to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of state investment company 1MDB.
The new charges compromise the previous allegations that Najib had pocketed RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million into his bank account in three separate transactions. The charges alleged that Najib had obtained the total sum of RM42 million from illegal activities.
The first two offences were committed on 26 December 2014 while the third was on 10 February 2015, all at AmIslamic Bank at Jalan Raja Chulan. Under Section 4 (1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001, Najib may face punishment of up to 15 years’ prison and a fine of up to five times the monetary amount involved, if convicted.
As of now, Najib faces a total of seven charges.
The case today started at Sessions Court but judge Azura Alwi allowed the prosecution team to bring the case to the High Court. When hearing at the High Court, however, the team again asked to be transferred to another High Court as it’s more sensible to hear the new money laundering charges along with the prior ones. Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah concurred with the prosecution team.
High Court judge Justice Azman Abdullah granted the transfer to a different High Court and matters like bail and case management were discussed there. The prosecution team was led by Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria.
Speaking after the hearing, Shafee upbraided the prosecution team for only sending in documents related to the charges this morning. The senior lawyer said his team had repeatedly requested the prosecution team to submit the documents so that his team could study and prepare for the proceeding.
He called the prosecution team ill-prepared in the dealings of the case and claimed that the defence team has the rights to study the evidence before his team could adequately defend his client, Malaysiakini reported.
“For weeks (we asked for the documents). They said the documents were prepared a long time ago, but they just handed them over today.
“So we told the judge not to be hasty in setting a trial date because we want to look at the documents first..,” he told reporters outside of Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex.
This isn’t the first time Shafee has complained about it. When Najib was first charged, the defence team only had the charge sheet and nothing else.
On July 4, he said, “What we have is only the charge sheet. I do not even have my client’s cautioned statement or other documents for us to prepare the case.
“To think, former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail had said they were prepared to charge Najib in July 2015. So they would have had the documents ready to give to us now.”
He argued that the defence has the rights to study the documents as constituted in Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code.