Najib-Irwan RM6.6b CBT trial tentatively set December until February

Former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex May 8, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex May 8, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — The joint trial of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah over six criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges involving RM6.64 billion is tentatively fixed for hearing from December 2019 until February 2020.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali set the new dates after allowing the prosecution to vacate the previous ones to accommodate the continued hearing of Najib’s ongoing trial over RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

The RM6.6 billion CBT trial of Najib and Irwan is known as the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) trial but is also part of the larger 1MDB scandal.

“I think it would not promote judicial efficiency if I were to start the IPIC case when SRC is going on nor would it be right for me to start the IPIC case knowing 1MDB will be on August 19.

“For me, the IPIC case is listed after 1MDB case, therefore I would simply convert these dates (July 8 — August 22) into SRC trial dates since from July 1 until 3 we are already continuing the SRC case,” Mohd Nazlan said.

However, the exact trial dates will only be finalised on May 14 as the proposed three months of hearing will overlap with another one of Najib’s joint trials, this time with former 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy over the alleged tampering of the final federal audit report of the state investment firm.

Earlier, the Attorney General’s Chambers prosecution chief, Manoj Kurup, sought to vacate the previous dates from July 8 to August 22 in order not to crowd the SRC trial.

Lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah represented Najib while Datuk K Kumaraendran acted for Mohd Irwan.

On May 2, High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah moved the dates for Najib’s main 1MDB trial to start on August 19 until 29, all of September and October as well as from November 1 until 14, excluding Fridays.

However, Sequerah also warned the defence and prosecution that he will not tolerate any more changes after setting the dates for the 1MDB trial.

Both Najib and Mohd Irwan previously pleaded not guilty to the six counts of CBT.

On the first count, they were jointly charged in their capacity as finance minister and Treasury secretary-general respectively, and entrusted with the dominion of RM1.2 billion belonging to the Malaysian government, with committing CBT on the fund.

On the second count, Najib and Mohd Irwan were jointly charged with committing CBT of RM655 million belonging to the Malaysian government which were entrusted to them.

On the third count, they were jointly charged, in their capacity as public servants and holding the same post, with committing CBT of RM220 million belonging to the Malaysian government in the Federal Consolidated Fund under the “Belanja Mengurus di bawah Maksud B11 Perkhidmatan Am Perbendaharaan, Aktiviti 021700 KL International Airport Berhad (KLIAB)” that were entrusted to them.

The two men were also jointly accused of committing CBT of RM1.3 billion that were entrusted to them Federal Consolidated Fund under “Maksud B11 Perkhidmatan Am Perbendaharaan, Aktiviti 020500 Subsidi Dan Bantuan Tunai”, belonging to the Government of Malaysia.

On the fifth and sixth charges, they allegedly committed CBT of CNY1,950,000,000 (RM1.26 billion) and RM2 billion, respectively, belonging to the government.

Najib and Mohd Irwan were alleged to have committed all the offences at the Finance Ministry Complex in Putrajaya between December 21, 2016, and December 18, 2017.