Defence to apply full pardon for Najib

07 Feb 2024 02:13pm
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex, today.
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex, today.

KUALA LUMPUR – The lawyers for Datuk Seri Najib Razak has planned to submit a new application to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim to seek for a full pardon.

This was to allow the former prime minister to be released from the Kajang Prison immediately.

His lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said this during a press conference in relation to the pardon issue involving the former Umno president at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex, today.

However, he said the defence team was still waiting for instructions from Najib before doing so.

"We do not want to rush in filing the application because Sultan Ibrahim has just recently sworn in as the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

"The application will be made on grounds that the Pardons Board for the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya did not carry out its duties as required under the Constitution," he said.

When asked whether the shortcomings in the Pardons Board's assessment, which created an unjust process, formed the basis for a new application, the lawyer replied 'yes.'

It was previously reported that Najib would be released from prison, but the news was retracted because the facts could not be confirmed.

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Speculations about his early release were finally answered when the Pardons Board confirmed that he would be released on Aug 23, 2028.

This date was six years earlier than his original jail time and his fine was also reduced from RM210 million to RM50 million.

However, Najib would have to serve another one year in jail if he failed to pay the fine and the date of his release would be on Aug 23, 2029.

According to a statement issued by the board's secretariat, the decision was reached during the board's 61st meeting on Jan 29.

Najib, 71, began serving his 12-year jail term at the Kajang Prison on Aug 23, 2022 after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and sentence for misappropriating RM42 million of funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

The five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously made the decision after a day of drama which included an attempt by Najib's defence team to recuse her from hearing the appeal.

The former prime minister then filed an application for a review of the Federal Court ruling and the new panel of the Federal Court dismissed his request on March 31, last year.

Najib, who became the first former prime minister to be jailed was first hauled to court on July 4, 2018.

He was charged for the first time in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and a single charge of abuse of position over the SRC International funds totalling RM42 million.

On Aug 8, 2018, he was charged with another three counts of money laundering involving the same funds believed to be proceeds from unlawful activities.

His case was later transferred to the High Court.

The trial began on April 3, 2019, before the prosecution closed its case on Aug 27, the same year, after 58 days of trial involving 57 witnesses.

On Nov 11, 2019, he was ordered to enter his defence on all seven charges after the court ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.

Najib took the stand as the first defence witness to answer charges against him on Dec 3, 2019.

After 33 days of hearing and 19 witnesses called to the stand, the defence closed its case on March 11, 2020.

On July 28, 2020, trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali found Najib guilty of all seven charges.

Nazlan, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, sentenced Najib to 12 years jail and fined him RM210 million in default of five years imprisonment.

The decision was then upheld by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8, 2021.

Najib still has three ongoing cases in court.

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