THE Kuala Lumpur High Court has informed former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he can apply for a full acquittal or discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in September if prosecutors fail to decide by then on his representation to drop the RM27 mil SRC International money laundering charges against him.
Judge K Muniandy has set five days in September for the full trial of the three SRC International money laundering charges against the former prime minister.
This ruling came in response to a request from deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, who sought a new mention date for the case, allowing prosecutors more time to decide on Najib’s representation to withdraw the criminal charges.
Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah argued in the criminal court that the three money laundering charges should be dropped, emphasising the prolonged six-year period since 2018 during which the case has loomed over Najib.
Moreover, Shafee renewed his bid for a full acquittal or DNAA upon hearing the prosecutor’s request for additional time.
He also pointed out the extensive delays and the difficulties faced by the prosecution in making decisions, suggesting that the three charges could be considered groundless, warranting a DNAA order if a full acquittal is not granted.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ashrof objected to Shafee’s bid for full acquittal or DNAA, stating that the DPP has been instructed to seek further case management to allow more time for prosecutors to review Najib’s representation.
Judge Muniandy subsequently set five days for the trial, scheduled from Sept 17 to 19 and Sept 23 to 24, allowing Najib’s lawyers to raise the full acquittal or DNAA bids again on those dates if prosecutors have not reached a decision. Additionally, March 12 has been set for further mention of the case.
Najib pleaded not guilty on Feb 3, 2019, to three money laundering charges involving RM27 mil, allegedly received from illegal activities.
The case has faced multiple postponements since 2019 due to Najib’s involvement in various other criminal cases, including the concluded RM42 mil SRC corruption case, for which he was convicted and imprisoned in August 2022. – Jan 19, 2023