KUALA LUMPUR — June 2, 2020: A lawyer for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has sounded out the court not to convict him based on public opinion.
While acknowledging that it is understandable for the public to be angry as the charges against Najib are serious, Farhan Read said the court of public opinion does not concern itself with being fair.
Najib is charged with seven counts of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and power involving RM42 million from SRC International. He faces the prospect of 20 years in jail.
“This court today should not be influenced by opinion. It should decide based on law and facts,” remarked Farhan.
Najib’s defence primarily is that he did not know the monies in his bank accounts came from SRC International, a subsidiary of sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
On the damning testimony of prosecution witness and former finance minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah concerning Najib’s role in the missing 1MDB funds, Farhan said Husni’s testimony should be disregarded because the witness had an axe to grind with Najib over a sexual harassment accusation.
In his testimony Husni claimed that Najib fixed him with the allegation after he had raised issues on 1MDB in Parliament.
Later in the afternoon, counsel Harvinderjit Singh asserted that Najib had never compelled anyone to do anything concerning SRC International and although Najib had the power to hire and fire, there was no evidence he did so.
Harvinderjit will continue his submissions tomorrow before lead prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram takes over.
Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will then wrap up submissions in reply on Thursday before a decision by High Court Judge Mohd. Nazlan Mohd. Ghazali.