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Najib Formally Charged, Trial Set for February 2019

Image credit: The Coverage

Smartly dressed in a dark blue suit, with a white shirt and red tie, Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex this morning at about 8.20am, where he was slapped with three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT).

The charges were under Section 409 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust. The three charges were related to Najib, as a public servant holding the post of prime minister and finance minister, receiving RM27 million, RM5 million, and RM10 million between 24 to 29 December, 2014 from SRC International. If found guilty, Najib would face a jail term from two to 20 years, whipping, and a fine.

He is also being charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act for offence of using office or position for gratification. If found guilty, Najib would face imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years and a fine of not less than five times of the sum involved.

Leading the prosecution team is Malaysia’s Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, with a team of 11 prosecutors, while prominent Malaysian lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is representing Najib.

No plea was recorded in the Sessions Court, and Najib is expected to only enter his plea in the High Court. The Sessions Court the two cases to be transferred to the High Court. Najib was brought before Sessions Court judge Zainal Abidin Kamaruddin, following which he appeared before Justice Sophian Abdul Razak at the High Court.

Najib’s charges were read once again before he pleaded not guilty, claiming trial to the four charges. Tommy Thomas requested for bail to be set at RM1 million for each charge however, Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee objected, stating that the amount was too high. The defence counsel then requested for bail to be set at RM500k to RM800k, with two sureties for all four charges and for Najib to surrender his passport.

Muhammad Shafee claimed the family would need to ask family and friends for funds as Najib did not have RM4 million to make the bail amount. Defence counsel also proposed the deed to Najib’s family mansion in Langgak Duta be used as collateral, but this request was rejected by the prosecution, stating that it was impractical and that property titles would not be accepted

Thomas said the defence’s proposal was impractical and his side would not accept the property title in place of cash. The court then set bail at RM1 million with two sureties, and Najib was to surrender his passport until his trial concluded. Justice Sofian ordered Najib to pay half the bail amount today and the balance by Monday, while his children, Nooryana Najwa and Norashman, stood as sureties.

Present were Najib’s family members, including sons Mohd Nazifuddin and Norashman, and his daughter Nooryana; however, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was not present.

The criminal and corruption trial will only begin in February next year, with High Court judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak fixing the case for management on August 8, 2018, but set the trial to start from February 18 to 28, 2019. The trial will then resume on March 4 to 8, 2019 before another break, and then continued from March 11 to 15, 2019.

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