Najib-Arul Kanda’s audit report trial adjourned as unwell lawyer took COVID-19 test

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

THE High Court here has adjourned the trial of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) former chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy on alleged tampering with the 1MDB final audit report to tomorrow, as an unwell lawyer in the defence team went for a COVID-19 test as a precaution.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan adjourned the trial pending the result which expected to be known at 10 am tomorrow.

Lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had earlier asked for an adjournment as the lawyer was feeling unwell with high fever and cough.

Muhammad Shafee said he had close contact with the lawyer as both were involved in the trial proceedings of Cradle Fund murder case at Shah Alam High Court last Friday.

“At about 4 am to 5 am this morning, the lawyer texted me informing that he would not be able to turn up because he is having high fever and coughing. So I immediately texted him and arranged for him to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic this morning. The result is expected to be known by 10 am tomorrow,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee said he will undergo the same test if the lawyer is tested positive for COVID-19.

“Although strictly I have to wait for the result before I do mine, I’m not taking the risk…this will be my sixth time (test for COVID-19),” he said.

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, a former Federal Court judge leading the prosecution team, did not object to the adjournment.

So far, seven prosecution witnesses have testified, including former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

Najib, 67, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him, while Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to action.

Both of them were charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.