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Judge: Najib must be present in court for his case

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is facing seven charges involving power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd fund amounting to RM42 million, must be present in court for every proceeding against him, even for case management.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the accused (Najib) should be present so that he could follow his case directly.

He made the ruling after Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah applied for his client’s absence in court during the case management today.

“I think he should be here, if the matter is not contested then we can consider. At least the accused may directly follow the proceedings,” he said.

Earlier, Nazlan fixed Nov 29 for hearing and case management for Najib’s criminal case involving seven charges of receiving RM42 million in illegal proceeds linked to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Muhammad Shafee had asked the court to excuse his client from attending the upcoming proceedings as case management normally involved only the prosecutors and the lawyers.

However, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah replied that the accused should be present as the case was important.

“Personally I feel that the accuse should attend as the case is important. We do not have any instruction for this but this is my opinion,” he said.

On July 4, Najib, who is Pekan member of Parliament, claimed trial to three counts of criminal breach of trust and another charge of abuse of power.

He was charged with transferring RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd into his private bank account at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Kuala Lumpur between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.

Najib also allegedy used his position to siphon off RM42 million, while giving government guarantees on SRC’s RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).

On Aug 8, Najib was slapped with another three additional charges for receiving the said amount from illegal proceeds at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012.

Najib was alleged to have received RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million, which were purportedly proceeds from illegal activities, at an AmIslamic Bank branch at Jalan Raja Chulan here between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.

He was charged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFA) 2001.

All the charges are related to the RM42 million linked to SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Meanwhile, the court also allowed an application by the defence to transfer Najib’s 21 money laundering cases involving RM2.3 billion charges from the Sessions Court to High Court.

Nazlan said the 25 charges contained a myriad of transactions and it involved public interest worldwide.

“I am of the view a transfer would expedite the cause of justice, hence I am allowing the application under Section 417(1)(e) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“It is in the interest of justice. Otherwise we would have some of the cases tried in Sessions Court, some in High Court,” he said.

Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh said the application was made due to the novel issue of the case which is appropriate to be heard in the High Court.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram did not object to the matter.

Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were present during the proceedings.

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