Najib's team to apply to disqualify A-G from case

Former premier Najib Razak waving to supporters outside court on Wednesday. The defence said the application to disqualify Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (top, right) will be filed in a fortnight.
(Above) Former premier Najib Razak waving to supporters outside court on Wednesday. The defence said the application to disqualify Attorney-General Tommy Thomas will be filed in a fortnight.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Former premier Najib Razak waving to supporters outside court on Wednesday. The defence said the application to disqualify Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (top, right) will be filed in a fortnight.
Former premier Najib Razak waving to supporters outside court on Wednesday. The defence said the application to disqualify Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (above) will be filed in a fortnight.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

I think he has made a pre-judgment even before becoming A-G, says defence lawyer

PETALING JAYA • Former premier Najib Razak will apply to the High Court to disqualify Malaysia's Attorney-General (A-G) Tommy Thomas from heading the prosecution team in the criminal case against him.

Najib's lead lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said the application will be filed in a fortnight.

"We want to complete our research first and gather all the material we need. We will compile all the statements that he had issued about my client prior to the charging (on Wednesday)," he told The Star on Thursday.

He said his team would need time to dig up all the necessary material and file the application once they are ready. "I think he has made a pre-judgment even before becoming the A-G," Mr Muhammad Shafee was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Reserve on Wednesday.

Mr Thomas reserved his comments on the application, and said he would wait for it to be filed by the defence.

On Wednesday, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power concerning RM42 million (S$14 million) worth of payments allegedly received by him from SRC International, a former subsidiary of state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). He pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

After Najib was charged, Mr Thomas said the prosecution had a strong case against him "... but (we) accept the burden of proof is on us and that the accused is innocent until proven guilty".

GATHERING MATERIAL

We want to complete our research first and gather all the material we need. We will compile all the statements that he had issued about my client prior to the charging (on Wednesday).

TAN SRI MUHAMMAD SHAFEE ABDULLAH, Najib Razak's lead lawyer.

More legal counter-attacks are in store, with Reuters reporting that Najib is suing three top officials involved in the 1MDB probe. In three civil suits filed last week, Najib's lawyers alleged that anti-graft chief Mohd Shukri Abdull, police commercial crimes head Amar Singh and Mr Thomas were prejudiced against him over the course of their investigations.

"We are seeking a court decision on whether there is an element of conflict of interest among the individuals handling the case," lawyer Badrul Abdullah said.

Najib left court on Wednesday after posting half of the RM1 million bail amount. His supporters have set up a "Free Najib" fund to help with the remaining RM500,000 bail due on Monday afternoon. As of yesterday afternoon, the fund has collected RM204,393.

Najib's daughter, Ms Nooryana Najwa, had said her bank account was frozen immediately after she posted bail for her father on Wednesday, and questioned if the government was "so vindictive that they want to eliminate our entire family".

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday dismissed her allegation, and said Najib's family could pursue their grievances in court.

"What do we want to take revenge for? ... If they say the freezing of the accounts is wrong, they can take it to court," he said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2018, with the headline 'Najib's team to apply to disqualify A-G from case'. Print Edition | Subscribe