Najib’s 1MDB trial to resume on Feb 18

The court has decided to vacate the original dates set for the trial on Jan 13 to 16 for the 1MDB audit tampering report trial


THE trial of former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak on charges of corruption and money laundering involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds will resume on Feb 18.

He is facing four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah set Feb 18 and 21; March 2 to 13, 19 and 20, 23 to 27, 30 to 31; April 1 to 30; and May 4 to 8, 11 to 22 inclusive of Fridays for the hearing.

The court also set the entire month of June, July, August, September and October including Fridays for the 1MDB trial.

“However, the proceedings on Friday will start in the morning until 12.30noon,” said Sequerah during case management before him yesterday.

As for the Jan 13 to 16 dates that had previously been fixed for the trial, Sequerah said he decided to vacate these for Najib’s 1MDB audit tampering report trial, following his discussions with High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who is presiding over the case.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib acted for the prosecution, while lawyer Rahmat Hazlan represented Najib.

Rahmat informed the court that the new dates could clash with lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s other ongoing cases such as the Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd CEO murder trial at the Shah Alam High Court that is set to resume in May.

He also informed the court that the murder trial was fixed earlier in December last year.

Sequerah asked the defence to write to the respective High Court judges requesting for their trial dates to be vacated to give Najib’s main 1MDB trial precedence.

The defence will continue to cross-examine key prosecution witness, former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

On the four corruption charges, Najib, 67, was alleged to have committed the offences at the Jalan Raja Chulan branch of AmIslamic Bank Bhd at No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon in Kuala Lumpur between Feb 24, 2011, and Dec 19, 2014, under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and is punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same law.

He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

For the 21 money laundering charges, Najib was alleged to have committed the offences at the same bank between March 22, 2013, and Aug 30, 2013.

All the charges were made according to Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act, which carries a maximum fine of RM5 million and a jail term of five years, or both, on conviction. — Bernama