PUTRAJAYA, Aug 23 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has made an eleventh-hour bid to recuse Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from presiding over his final appeal against his conviction of misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd at the Federal Court today.
At the beginning of today’s hearing, Najib’s lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik informed the five-judge panel led by Tengku Maimun that his client filed an application last night.
The lawyer also confirmed a copy of the motion was served to prosecutors as well, which ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram affirmed.
Hisyam also urged the court to dispose of the recusal application first before the main appeal is heard but Tengku Maimun insisted for the defence to proceed with its submission on the main appeal.
“We are here not to waste time,” she said.
In the affidavit in support sighted by Malay Mail, Najib claimed the findings made by the Federal Court against him would be subject to scepticism after he recently obtained excerpts of a Facebook post made by one “Zamani Ibrahim” in May 2018.
According to Najib, he verily believed the aforementioned individual is the chief justice’s husband, who is also the chairman of the judicial panel hearing his final appeal of the SRC case.
“I verily believe that these developments are highly disturbing in light of the fact that the said Zamani Ibrahim clearly had negative sentiments towards my leadership of this country while I was prime minister and had concluded I had siphoned sovereign government funds into my personal accounts.
“Being the husband of the chairperson that is adjudicating my appeal it is likely that he would have influenced the thinking of the mind of the chairperson as to my alleged culpability.
“I further state that considering the nature of their spousal relationship, it is likely that the mind of the learned chairperson would have been unconsciously influenced by the sentiments against me held by her ladyship’s husband,” Najib wrote.
The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.
Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.
A hearing in the country’s supreme court has been scheduled to take place over nine days, starting August 15 until August 19 and will resume today until August 26.