Dec 8 verdict on Najib's appeal to get documents for his 1MDB trial

25 Oct 2022 03:43pm
Najib. FILE PIX
Najib. FILE PIX
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PUTRAJAYA - The Court of Appeal will give its verdict on Dec 8 in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's appeal to get banking documents relating to companies believed to be linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho and former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz's family for his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MBD) trial.

Justice Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, who chaired the three-man panel, said the date was fixed in December as they needed time to deliberate.

The other two judges presiding with him were Justices Datuk Wira Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Datuk Nordin Hassan.

Najib, 68, who is serving a 12-year jail sentence in Kajang Prison after the Federal Court upheld his conviction for misappropriation of RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd funds on Aug 23, was brought to court for his appeal hearing today. His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor also attended the proceedings.

The former prime minister is appealing against the decision by the High Court on July 12 last year in dismissing two of his discovery applications to compel the prosecution in his 1MDB trial to disclose banking documents linked to Zeti's family on claims that her family allegedly received monies from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

In the court proceedings today, Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that 19 documents sought involving companies controlled by Zeti's family and Jho Low were with the prosecution and the Malaysian authorities.

"They didn’t dispute that it exists. They're dancing around us without telling us. This is belly dancing. They show enough but not the whole thing,” said Muhammad Shafee.

Justice Kamaludin then responded that it was the first time he heard of it which brought laughter to the courtroom.

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Muhammad Shafee said Singaporean authorities that investigated the 1MDB financial scandal in the republic had given the documents to the Malaysian authorities including Bank Negara Malaysia.

Ad-hoc deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said the documents sought by Najib were premature and irrelevant to his trial, adding that Najib should apply for the documents only after he has been ordered to enter his defence.

Sri Ram said there was no denial of the existence of the documents and that the burden is on the defence to show that their application is founded on admissible evidence and not hearsay evidence.

"Their entire case is based on newspaper reports (claiming) that we have these documents, adding that the defence is an attempt to get those documents at this stage for an advance ruling that Zeti is not a credible witness.

"They must prove the documents are in our possession,” said Sri Ram, adding that the prosecution will be calling Zeti to testify and answer the allegations against her and her family.

Najib filed a court order on March 24 last year to compel the prosecution to provide several banking statements from companies, including Aktis Capital Singapore Pte Ltd, Country Group Securities Public Company Ltd, ACME Time Ltd (BVI), Butamba Investments Ltd, and Central Holdings Ltd, believed to be related to Jho Low and Zeti’s family in his 1MDB case.

Najib also filed a second application on April 7 last year seeking to obtain the confidential settlement agreement between the government and the Goldman Sachs Group entered in 2020 and for former Goldman Sachs partner in Asia Tim Leissner's disclosure of the IMDB officer who he had bribed.

Najib is on trial on four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before High Court before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes on Nov 7. - BERNAMA