KL High Court to remain busy with high-profile cases in 2020

Among the cases lined up in court are Najib’s ongoing criminal and corruption trials, Ahmad Zahid’s CBT trial and Azilah’s review application

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court has a few trials lined up in January and February, especially the continuations of former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s criminal and corruption trials, the former Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial and the reopening of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu’s 2006 murder case.

It has been reported that Najib will have to be in court until August next year as the court decides on tentative dates for his trials.

SRC International Sdn Bhd trial

The former PM and finance minister is expected to return to the witness stand on Jan 6, after a two week break since Dec 19, 2019.

It would be Najib’s first proceeding in 2020.

For this case, Najib is facing seven charges on alleged misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, a former subsidiary unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The court has set Jan 6-9, Feb 3-5, Feb 10-13, Feb 17 and Feb 24-27, of which were previously chosen for the start of Najib’s joint trial with former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah over six criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges involving RM6.64 billion.

It was also known as the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) trial, which was a part of the larger 1MDB scandal. High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had also scheduled Feb 27 as mention to set the new IPIC trial dates.

In addition, Najib is also facing three money laundering charges involving SRC funds worth RM27 million. The trial date has been set for June.

1MDB audit report tampering

The next case management date for the 1MDB audit report tampering case has been set for Jan 9, with tentative trial dates fixed on Jan 13-16, March 9-11, April 6-9 and April 13-16.

The trial of the case began on Nov 18, where six prosecution witnesses have testified so far. Before the trial took its break, former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang was the last witness to testify.

Najib is facing the trial together with former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Ahmad Zahid’s CBT trial

Through Ahmad Zahid’s foundation, Yayasan Akalbudi, Wasi Khan @ Wasiyu Zama Israr Ahmad said he was issued a cheque for RM10 million one month after his first visit to the Home Ministry office.

The hearing on the case is set to continue on Feb 11-14 and further trial dates are fixed for Feb 17-20, March 2, 3 and 6, as well as March 23-25.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges for CBT involving the funds of his foundation, money laundering and accepting bribes for various projects during his time as home minister.

It was reported that Parliament and Constitution Affairs Section secretary Daman Huri Nor testified that Ahmad Zahid received

RM44,383.15 as monthly salary during his three years as deputy minister, whereby of the amount RM26,215 was in the form of allowance and the remaining was basic salary.

He took up the deputy PM role after Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was removed from the Cabinet in 2015.

Reopening of Altantuya’s murder case

The Federal Court has set April 20 for the hearing of former police commando Azilah Hadri’s review application to set aside his 2015 conviction and death sentence for the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The application for review was filed earlier in December and Azilah’s representation in the top court J Kuldeep Kumar, said his client wants the Federal Court to put aside its decision made in 2015 to uphold his conviction and confirmed a retrial request over the murder.

In October, he made a statutory declaration claiming that the former PM, who was then the deputy PM, had allegedly ordered him to kill Altantuya and dispose her body using explosives.

Najib dismissed the former police commando’s claims, stating they were a “complete fabrication” and maintained his innocence, while welcoming police investigations into the allegations.

Previously, Azilah filed an application for a royal pardon over the case in 2016, in which his lawyer Datuk Hazman Ahmad confirmed that the Selangor Pardons Board has yet to make a decision on the request.

Since 2015, where the Federal Court reinstated the High Court’s conviction and mandatory death sentence over him and another former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, Azilah has been on death row.