KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s first-ever trial over RM42 million of funds belonging to 1MDB’s former unit SRC International Sdn Bhd has been adjourned until April 15.
“Given considerable public interest in this case, some degree of priority has to be given to ensure efficacy of the proceedings.
“Therefore, I fix April 15 until May 10 for continued trial. That will be sufficient notice for alternative arrangements to be made,” High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said today.
Mohd Nazlan’s comments on alternative arrangements were in reference to Najib’s lawyers who highlighted that they already had pre-scheduled hearings for other court cases on some of the dates mentioned.
Earlier, Attorney General Tommy Thomas had asked for trial to resume on April 8 and 9, as well as April 15 to May 3, while also proposing for trial to continue on until May 14.
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah however said he was unavailable on April 8 and 9 as he had other court cases to handle, but Thomas argued that the unavailability of a single lawyer is not a good reason to defer the trial.
“No one is indispensable. That’s why you have a team. That’s why both of us have teams,” Thomas said, noting that he himself would not always be present and that there were other lawyers on the prosecution team that could step in throughout Najib’s trial.
Thomas pointed out that Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh has been carrying out cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, and that Najib’s other lawyers former Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden and Datuk Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin could also do the same.
Shafee, however, clarified that Mohd Yusof and Kamarul will not be present for the entire case, also highlighting that he is Najib’s lead defence lawyer and has to be present to give instructions to the legal team.
“There can only be one general in my team, he can have two, three generals, that’s his problem,” Shafee added.
Shafee had also listed a series of other court matters in other court cases that he had to handle during the May 6 to May 10 period.
Today was the first day of Najib’s trial.
One prosecution witness has testified so far — Muhamad Akmaluddin Abdullah, a 35-year-old assistant registrar at the Companies Commission of Malaysia.
Muhamad Akmaluddin is expected to continue testifying when trial resumes on April 15.
A smiling Najib was greeted by members of the press as well as his supporters, who chanted the words ‘Allahuakbar’ and ‘Bossku’ as the former prime minister left the Jalan Duta court complex in a vehicle.
Najib was here earlier today for his first-ever trial over RM42 million of funds belonging to 1MDB’s former unit SRC International Sdn Bhd. He faces a total of seven charges over the RM42 million funds.
Out of the seven charges slapped on him on July 4, 2018 and August 8, 2018, Najib is accused of committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge under an anti-corruption law of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same RM42 million sum.
The first three counts under Section 409 of the Penal Code are over Najib allegedly committing criminal breach of trust involving sums of RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million while entrusted with the control of RM4 billion of SRC International’s funds in his capacity as the prime minister and finance minister.
Under the fourth count, Najib was charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 with abusing his position to commit bribery of RM42 million when he was involved in a government decision to provide government guarantee for the Retirement Fund Incorporated’s (KWAP) RM4 billion loan to SRC International.
The remaining three charges are for allegedly laundering the same total sum of RM42 million, where Najib is accused of receiving RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million in proceeds from unlawful activities in two of his AmIslamic Bank Berhad accounts between December 26, 2014, and February 10, 2015.
The money-laundering charges are under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.