Will Najib’s 1MDB trial commence tomorrow?

18 Aug 2019 / 16:52 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Almost a year after being slapped with four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will have his day in court tomorrow.

On Monday, Najib’s 1MDB trial, also dubbed the 1MDB-Tanore trial, is scheduled to be heard before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

However, whether the trial will go on that day would depend on Justice Sequerah’s discretion as the prosecution team in Najib’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case are expected to seek a postponement.

This is to give way for the SRC trial to be completed as the prosecution seeks to wrap its case with its last prosecution witness yet to conclude his testimony before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.

On Aug 13, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s ruling on Aug 5 which affirmed the High Court’s decision that the trial should proceed as scheduled on Aug 19.

According to court’s case list, placed outside the High Court Criminal 1 (before Justice Sequerah) the case is scheduled to begin on Aug 19.

One of the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) in the 1MDB trial, when asked on the matter said there is a likelihood the 1MDB trial will not go on as the SRC trial was not done.

“Furthermore the prosecution (for the 1MDB case) has just served witness statements to the defence on Friday and the defence has 14 days to go through it,” said the DPP when contacted.

The DPP also said a total of 60 witnesses will be called during the trial including several foreign witnesses.

Previously, Justice Sequerah has set Aug 19 to 29; the month of September and October except for Fridays; and the first two weeks of November for Najib’s 1MDB trial.

The prosecution had applied for the trial to be postponed for the fourth time to make way for Najib’s SRC trial.

On July 18, Justice Sequerah dismissed the public prosecutor’s notice of motion to adjourn the trial.

On July 8, Justice Sequerah rejected Attorney-General Tommy Thomas’ verbal request to postpone the 1MDB case scheduled for Aug 19 until the SRC case had been completed.

On April 30, the prosecution filed its first motion to postpone the 1MDB trial which had been fixed for 14 days from April 15 until May 3. The judge granted the application and rescheduled the case to May 14 until June 21.

On May 2, the prosecution sought another postponement via oral application. The court allowed the postponement and rescheduled the trial to Aug 19.

Former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram who was appointed as Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor will lead the prosecution team while lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will lead the defence team.

On Sept 20, 2018, Najib was charged at the Sessions Court here on four charges to have used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

He pleaded not guilty to all 25 charges and later the case was transferred to the High Court. — Bernama

email blast