Lawyer: Najib’s suit against ex-AG “collateral attack” for initiating 1MDB cases

DATUK Seri Najib Razak’s suit against former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas for alleged abuse of power over the former prime minister’s four ongoing cases related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) was a “collateral attack”, the High Court heard yesterday (Sept 9).

As such, counsel Alan Adrian Gomez, representing Thomas, said the lawsuit filed by Najib was an abuse of the court process and cannot be relied on.

“The grounds that support the application or the major claim against his client are clearly scandalous, frivolous, vexatious and constitute an abuse of processes over the court. 

“The plaintiff (Najib) has no reasonable cause of action against (the) defendants and his claim against this defendant is an action that’s obviously unsustainable and should be struck out,” he said in the hearing of Thomas’ application to strike out Najib’s suit.

Gomez added that the elements of recklessness and abuse in a claim for misfeasance would require a determination as to whether Thomas, in preferring the charges, had abused his powers or was reckless or indifferent as to whether such actions would harm Najib.

Tan Sri Tommy Thomas (Photo credit: Bernama)

“These necessarily relate to the merits of the case… In any event, these particulars as to how my client was reckless or had abused his powers have not been traversed in Najib’s statement of claim.”

Gomez also argued that if Najib was of the view that the 1MDB charges against him were wrong, the Pekan MP should have commenced judicial review proceedings to strike them out, citing the process employed by former Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) director Datuk Prof Dr N. Sundra Rajoo in an unrelated case.

He added that Najib has not been acquitted yet in his other four trials involving abuse of power and money laundering from 1MDB; the 1MDB audit report; the RM6.6 bil International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) case as well as the other SRC International case involving three counts of money laundering totalling RM27 mil.

Therefore, Gomez contended, Najib could not bring forth the civil action.

“Diversion tactic”

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, representing Najib, argued that Thomas’ submission does not address the suit brought against him but was rather an attempt to divert the case toward the criminal charges faced by his client.

Firoz said Najib’s statement of claim to this action does not plead any facts which concern his guilt or innocence in the criminal cases. 

“Rather, the facts pleaded to revolve around how the defendant was pre-planning charges against Najib since 2012 and while he was doing this, he also lobbied to be the attorney-general should there be a change in Government.

“(Tommy) interfered and influenced investigations against Datuk Seri Najib and after the charges were preferred against my client, he (Tommy) consistently made public remarks about him,” he added. 

He said Tommy did this in press statements and in a book he wrote, My Story: Justice In The Wilderness.

Firoz further submitted that Thomas had also suppressed evidence that could have aided Najib’s defence in the criminal cases.

On Oct 22, 2021, Najib filed the civil suit, claiming that the charges against him were part of a move that had been planned in advance by Thomas and also in line with the Pakatan Harapan Government’s plan at the time.

Najib, 69, maintains he has been wrongly accused in court in the cases of 1MDB; IPIC; abuse of power under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and; money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA 2001).

He is seeking a declaration that Thomas committed misfeasance in public office as well as RM1.9 mil in damages, including negotiation fees for the audit team to review documentation for the preparation of facts to deal with the prosecution against him.

The hearing before Judge Datuk Ahmad Bache continues on Oct 21.

Najib is currently serving time in the Kajang Prison after the Federal Court last month upheld his conviction in the SRC International RM42 mil corruption case. – Sept 10, 2022

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