Inseparable duo, Najib and wife, had no role in mastermind Jho Low’s Mega Global Financial Scandals.
The alleged conspiracy did not involve, for example, former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor. The public perceptions in social media against the duo needs a rethink.
The issues on the mastermind/s, conspirators and co-conspirators arose during the case.
Apparently, Rosmah didn’t receive the pink diamond mentioned here.
Najib and Rosmah, the inseparable duo in media accounts, were allegedly mentioned in two lists, i.e. to bribe and bribed, which the court heard was allegedly created by fugitive fund manager Jho Low who, it appears from media accounts, misrepresented himself all over the place and laughed all the way to casinos, banks and purportedly to a hiding place among communist party members in China.
Ng himself, according to accounts in court, purportedly warned his bosses in Goldman Sachs on the fugitive Jho Low.
In law, the lists are hearsay unless there’s corroborative evidence. In Malaysia, we have the Evidence Act 1950. See here.
Co-conspirator Given US$35m
In any case, the court case wasn’t about the names in the purported lists. It was about Ng getting his hands on US$35m which did not belong to him.
Najib’s case in Malaysia on 1MDB, a necessary digression for public perception reasons on an unrelated development, is about abuse of power, conflict of interest and criminal breach of trust. The case isn’t about the money flows itself. Money going in and out of Najib’s personal account/s is not the case.
In the wake of the Roger Ng verdict in New York, defence lawyer Shafee Abdullah should be able to prove that Najib wasn’t the mastermind, for want of a better term, on money flows involving 1MDB and related outfits. In further and better particulars, he wasn’t also the conspirator or co-conspirator.
So, the abuse of power charge cannot stand. If the main charge cannot stand, the other charges cease to exist. See here.
Najib returned 100 per cent of the money. He received RM 2,043m and returned RM 2,046m, both based on the respective prevailing exchange rates.
The verdict in the related RM42m SRC International case in the High Court, upheld by the Court of Appeal, may be ruled a mistrial by the Federal Court.
Conflict Of Interest
It has since become public knowledge that High Court Judge Nazlan should have recused himself on the grounds of “conflict of interest”. No judge can be forced to recuse himself or herself. Still, if a judge should not hear a case and proceeds anyway, the verdict can be declared mistrial by the superior court and set aside.
The superior court can hear the case or send it back to the lower court to be heard before another judge.
If the case is sent back to the lower court, it’s unlikely – based on precedence – that the Attorney General would proceed with the new trial.
Going back to Roger Ng, a civil case would have forfeited the US$35m and secret profits, if any, without prejudice i.e. no admission of liability and no mention of 1MDB and related financial scandals. We wouldn’t know the story including that Najib and Rosmah were not linked to Ng and financial scandals involving 1MDB and related outfits.
If the DoJ had filed a civil action case on the US$35m and secret profits for money laundering, Roger Ng would have walked free. See here . If true, the “secret profits” in law belong to the principal/s i.e. the owner/s of the original money.
Ng’s lawyer claimed that his Client was made a scapegoat so that his boss, Tim Leissner, could plea bargain and avoid a longer stretch in prison. The Appeal Court may revisit the Defence that Leissner was in cahoots with Jho Low, the latter being able to run circles around everyone, and thereby emerging as the leading candidate for “mastermind” status. The court found Ng the co-conspirator, his boss the conspirator.
Cases in court begin with stories. From stories we get the relevant facts, the issues arising, the law/s applicable and who the judge will believe.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) can still file a civil case and forfeit the US$35m and related secret profits, if any. Ng won’t be able to challenge the civil action since he has already been found guilty in the criminal court on the same matter. He would be convicted, fined and sentenced to jail, and jailed further in default.
Since violence wasn’t involved, Ng can apply for bail. It’s not clear whether the court would grant him stay of execution pending Appeal.
Everyone remembers Ng declaring that he’s more than likely to get a fair hearing in the the US compared with the court in Malaysia. The court in the US, or no court in the US, Ng should be cited for contempt. See here.
The court cannot give him a hearing on the charges against him in Malaysia unless he purges the contempt by first apologising and promising not to repeat it.
If Ng refuses to purge the contempt, the court can impose fine and jail him, and mete out further jail in default. See here. – New Malaysia Herald
About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He’s not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.