Zahid said in a statement that it has been a practice in the judicial general ethics worldwide that a presiding judge discharges himself if there was a conflict of interest during or before he is appointed as judge, especially in passing sentence
KUALA LUMPUR – Umno is disappointed with the Federal Court’s decision to discard an application by former Premier Najib Razak to adduce new evidence involving Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his final appeal against the conviction in the SRC case, its President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement today.
He said that although the party has no intention to interfere in court matters, it views seriously the allegation that Nazlan was earlier involved in setting up of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
“Nazlan’s position as lawyer and secretary to Maybank in 2006 gave him major access to the bank’s administration, including how RM42 million, that was part of the RM140 million which was loaned by Maybank to Putra Perdana Development could be transferred to Najib’s account that sparked the latest accusation against him.
“It has been a practice in the judicial general ethics worldwide that a presiding judge discharges himself if there was any conflict of interest during or before he is appointed as a judge, especially in passing sentences. It would be worse if there was any attempt to hide his involvement in the conflict of
interest from the start of the case.
“All these can tarnish the integrity of the judiciary which is the pillar of absolute trust to the main bastion of the rule of law. While we will not interfere with matters involving courts, we believe that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done,” Zahid stressed.
Zahid: Nazlan should have recused himself
In his application to adduce fresh evidence, the Umno chief said Judge Nazlan should have recused himself from presiding over the trial as he was involved in deliberations and decision-making which lead to the formation of SRC as 1MDB’s subsidiary.
Nazlan was Maybank’s group general counsel and company secretary at the material time, which was between 2006 and April 2015.
On delivering the court’s judgment on Tuesday (15 Aug), Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the five-member bench could not see how the proposed additional evidence with regards to Nazlan’s previous employment with Maybank was related to the charge of abuse of power against Najib under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.
“Even if Maybank was involved, the question is, how is the bank, and by extension Justice Nazlan’s involvement, in any way material to the question of abuse of power charge,” she asked.
Nazlan convicted Najib on seven charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over SRC funds amounting to RM42 million in July 2020.
Najib’s conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8 last year, as was his 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine. However, Najib was released on bail pending his final appeal before the Federal Court.
The appeal hearing is scheduled to proceed on Thursday (18 Aug).
Zahid had earlier stated on his FB page that the party should show support for Najib as the latter is facing obstacles in his quest to seek justice from the Federal Court.
Najib’s contribution and service to Umno, BN and the BN government will never be erased in our nation’s history, says Zahid. – NMH