KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will not be taking the stand in his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s bribery and corruption trial at the High Court here.
Rosmah’s lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh said the defence team felt Najib’s testimony was corroborative and had already been established in court previously.
“The defence won’t be calling Datuk Seri Najib as the third witness as we believe his evidence is primarily prerogative in nature,” Jagjit told the court this morning.
He said that when Rosmah’s defence was first called, her legal team adopted caution and chose to lead with evidence based on the witnesses’ sole statements in court, but revised its strategy last night.
“However last weekend and till late last night, we were discussing the matter and we invariably feel his evidence is only corroborative in nature.
“Since the corroborative nature of his evidence has already been established in this court we have restrategised and made the decision not to call him,” Jagjit said, referring to Najib.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram then stood up and said he wanted to highlight just two things.
He said the decision to call witnesses was the defence's prerogative, and that the prosecution would address Najib's absence in its submissions later on.
"The decision on which witnesses to call and what order is for the defence to decide, so we have nothing more to say.
"Not calling Najib will be a matter of comment in our final submissions," Sri Ram told the court.
Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was in attendace.
Justice Mohd Zaini Mazlan said he had no problem with the defence's last minute change not to call Najib as a witness and vacated the hearing dates for the rest of the week.
Rosmah's trial was supposed to go on till this Friday.
In this trial, Rosmah is facing several charges; among them receiving a RM5 million bribe and a RM1.5 million bribe from Jepak Holdings and its managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, on December 20, 2016.
She is also charged with soliciting RM187.5 million from Saidi in 2016 and 2017 for the Sarawak schools solar energy supply project, as well as receiving RM6.5 million in cash from him.
It is alleged that the money was meant to help Saidi’s company, Jepak Holdings, to secure the RM1.25 billion project to supply electricity to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
Zaini had ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on all three charges of corruption last February.
Najib was supposed to be the third witness in this trial for the defence.
The next witness is an officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Datuk Seri Siti Azizah Sheikh Abod, whom Jagjit said is currently in Saudi Arabia on her umrah pilgrimage. She is scheduled to testify on February 4.