The High Court has found former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak guilty of the RM42 million corruption charges relating to the SRC International trial
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali delivered his verdict at Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jalan Duta today, 28 July.
Najib is facing seven charges of abuse of power, corruption, and money laundering involving RM42 million from SRC International, a former subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Najib is proven guilty in all charges.
Nazlan's verdict has made Najib the first former Malaysian prime minister to be convicted in the courts.
In his ruling, Nazlan explained that the defence had failed to rebut beyond reasonable doubt on several matters
"In conclusion, in my judgment, having considered all the evidence presented in this court, I find that the defence has not succeeded in rebutting the presumption on the balance of probabilities or raising reasonable doubt against the accused under Section 23(1) of the [Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)] Act," said the High Court Judge in regards to the first charge relating to power abuse, reported The Star.
Based on Malaysiakini's live report, in another ruling, Nazlan said that there was no dispute that the then-Cabinet hastily approved the first Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) RM2 billion loan to SRC International.
The Judge ruled that Najib never initiated a 'government-to-government' effort to recover SRC International funds in Switzerland.
The court also heard that neither the accused nor SRC International took legal action against AmBank Islamic. Nazlan said Najib knew money was wired into three AmBank Islamic accounts, but the former premier "deliberately" kept it from public disclosure.
He added that Najib did not take action over a non-return of RM42 million. Speaking about Low Taek Jho's, also known as Jho Low, involvement in the scandal, Nazlan said it was too far fetched to believe that Najib was a victim to Low's scams, adding that Low knew what his role was when dealing with the former premier's bank accounts.
As of press time, the Judge concluded that Najib is guilty of all seven charges.
While the Judge has yet to mete out the sentences, here is the breakdown of the possible punishments according to each charge:
Abuse of power
- One count; charged under the MACC Act
- The offence carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification
Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT)
- Three counts; charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code
- Each offence carries a jail term of up to 20 years, a fine, and whipping. However, since Najib is above the age of 50, he is not liable to whipping.
- Three counts; charged under Section 4(1)(b) Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001
- Each offence carries a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine of five times the RM42 million
The SRC International court proceedings have been on-going for over 16 months, which started on 3 April 2019. In November last year, Najib was ordered to enter defence for the case, a court's decision that came as a "shock" to him.
To date, a total of 76 witnesses has been called to the court to testify, reported Malay Mail.
Thousands of people gathered at Kuala Lumpur Court Complex to show their support for Najib today
This has raised concerns of the spread of COVID-19 as photos show that supporters did not practise social distancing, while some are not wearing face masks.
Meanwhile, Najib's daughter Nooryana Najwa and stepson Riza Aziz were at the court's public gallery today.
It is reported that Sungai Besar UMNO division chief Jamal Md Yunos, UMNO Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan were at the court as well.
Despite the court's ruling today, Najib will still be able to hold his status as Pekan Member of Parliament (MP)
While Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution states that a MP will lose his seat at the Dewan Rakyat if he or she is convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail for more than one year or fined more than RM2,000, the process is not immediate.
Constitutional lawyer Lim Wei Jiet told Malay Mail that the MP can file an appeal within 14 days to secure his constituency seat.
"The vacation of such a seat would only happen if the appeals have been exhausted and the conviction is upheld by the appellate courts," said Lim.