A former aide to Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak cried foul today over the delay in making available a joint charge sheet against the former premier and former Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah to the defence.
This follows an incident that took place on the 9th of August 2018, in which Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was given the run-around by lead prosecutor Dato’ Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria when requesting for case documents from the latter.
On that day, someone claiming to represent Hanafiah later passed a compact disc (CD) marked ‘A’ to team Najib before informing the team that the CD contained the documents Shafee requested.
It immediately became apparent to the team that Hanafiah was reluctant to hand over hard copies of the documents to Shafee, as he knew, that had he done so, both he and Shafee would have had to sign an index paper itemizing the list of documents handed over to Najib.
THE THIRD FORCE
A former aide to Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak cried foul today over the delay in making available a joint charge sheet against the former premier and former Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah to the defence. In a statement made outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court complex where Najib and Irwan faced six Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) charges, Isham Jalil took Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas to task for the alleged delay, saying it denied the defence time to prepare its case.
“This is unheard of. At least, the first two times, we got the charge sheet beforehand,” the ex-aide was quoted as saying by NST Online.
While that may be true, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the corruption and CBT charges Najib is faced with. Anyone following events related to these charges closely enough would long have sensed something amiss with the prosecution’s lead counsel, Dato’ Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria. To understand why that is, let us take a look at what happened on the 9th of August 2018.
On that day, Najib’s defence attorney, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was given the run-around by Hanafiah when requesting for case documents from the latter. The lead prosecutor shocked both Shafee and the defence team when insisting that the prosecution needed time to prepare those documents. Hanafiah’s reply was a tacit admission on his part that the prosecution was never intent on handing over the documents but bulldozed ahead with proceedings anyway.
Perhaps the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) completely slipped his mind.
According to Section 51(A) of the said code, the prosecution must reveal to the defence information and documents or reports that would form part of the prosecution’s case before the commencement of trial. Prior to 2006, the general right to disclosure of documents was governed by Section 51 of the CPC, which, among others, empowers the court to issue summons or an order to produce property or documents deemed desirable for trial. Section 51(A) was later introduced pursuant to an entry within the Hansard of Parliament to improve the efficiency of the Malaysian courts.
Hanafiah ignored this.
The lead prosecutor, who made his first court appearance after a three-year long hiatus, was overheard in the lobby area grumbling that the case was thrown to him despite his retirement being due next year. That gave the initial impression that some fundamental principles of Malaysian jurisprudence may have slipped his mind given his long absence from courts. However, events that transpired thereafter in a witness room where team Najib sat waiting to sign a bond guarantee pointed to a definite element of mala fide intent on Hanafiah’s part.
According to a witness, someone claiming to represent Hanafiah passed a compact disc (CD) marked ‘A’ to team Najib before informing the team that the CD contained the documents Shafee requested. Hanafiah was said to have instructed the person to hand over the CD, meaning, the possibility of him having forgotten tenets to the CPC no longer applies. It immediately became apparent that the lead prosecutor was reluctant to hand over hard copies of the documents to Shafee, as he knew, that had he done so, both he and Shafee would have had to sign an index paper itemizing the list of documents handed over to Najib.
Perhaps he was aware, that should the paper have been signed, there would have been no way for the prosecution to withhold crucial evidence that it could later spring on Najib. His desire to weaken the former premier’s defence was nonetheless made manifest when he insisted that the trial date be brought forward to November 2018. His insistence ran contrary to an agreement reached both by the defence and prosecution during a case mention on the 4th of July 2018. On that day, former lead prosecutor Tommy Thomas and Shafee agreed to hold the trial either in February or March 2019 to afford the defence time to prepare its case.
And today, we’re being told that the joint charge sheet against Najib and Irwan Serigar was only made available to the defence an hour before proceedings began. It is becoming glaringly obvious that the administration of Dr Mahathir Mohamad is out on a vendetta against the former premier irrespective if the latter is guilty or otherwise. On the 4th of July 2018, Tommy Thomas shocked everyone when he appeared as lead prosecutor in Najib’s corruption trial despite having written an editorial piece deemed prejudicial against the latter.
And they’re calling this the rule of law…