Judge in Najib case under fire

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Photo Credit: Malaysia High Court

The judge in ex-PM Najib Razak’s corruption cases is under fire for his links with the fallen United Malays National Organisation (Umno).

High Court judge Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak is the brother, Mohd Soffi Abdul Razak, a Pahang Umno member.

Pahang is the state where Najib is a member of the Parliament, in Pekan, and the judge’s brother a Pahang state executive councillor, as well as the assemblyperson for the Pahang state constituency of Benta.

The link between the judge and Najib’s party was exposed by concerned netizens who asked the judge to recuse himself from Najib’s case.

Today, the prominent former civil servants group G25 has joined the call for the High Court judge to recuse himself.

But it appears that he is not budging, possibly waiting for a formal application by the prosecution to get him axed.

The G25 said the judge failed to disclose the fact that his brother is a Umno member.

“Given that the former prime minister was until recently the president of Umno and chairperson of BN, and is himself a Pahang MP, the judge ought to have disclosed his relationship to his brother and the latter’s position in Umno and the state government to the prosecution and the defence prior to the hearing,” said G25.

It also said judicial precedents have established that a judge must disclose any kind of connection in a case before him to all parties at the outset, and should let the parties decide whether to ask him to recuse or not, added G25.

“The judge in this case did not do so. With respect, we are of the view that this is highly inappropriate,” said group.

The Bar Council president George Varughese has also urged the judge to recuse himself from this high profile case.

On July 4, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abuse of power in relation to the RM42 million in his personal bank account, believed to have originated from former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International.

Najib has paid the remaining RM500,000 bail at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex this morning.

Reports said Najib’s children, Norashman and Nooryana Najwa, who were seen at the High Court criminal registration counter, paid the bail for their father.