The court will take any action necessary to protect its integrity, judge says
by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Kuala Lumpur High Court issued a stern warning to Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak for attacking former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz (picture) via his Facebook postings.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah ruled that Najib must not make statements relating to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial “as if the trial is conducted in the public domain” although there is no necessity for a gag order.
He said Najib’s statements on Facebook as a whole tantamount to attacks on Zeti who is listed as a prosecution witness.
“The court, therefore, issues a stern warning to the accused not to repeat the action and the court will take any action necessary to protect its integrity,” Sequerah said in a proceeding yesterday.
Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram in his submission said Najib appeared to be conducting his defence on Facebook, adding that a trial should take place in a court of law instead of social media.
On Tuesday, the prosecution urged the court to give a stern warning to Najib for attacking Zeti following an online statement by the accused on Dec 29 that alleged Zeti to have received 1MDB money.
Zeti denied that she and her family ever received any sums of money from 1MDB.
“I wish to reiterate that my family and I have never received any sums of money from 1MDB. The allegations against me and my family are completely false and malicious,” she said in a statement on Dec 31.
The former central bank governor also said she gave her fullest cooperation and provided the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission with information during the investigations on 1MDB and Najib.
She said she is unable to make any further statements as she is a potential witness in the ongoing criminal trial.
The 1MDB trial is expected to stretch beyond the dates that are set for Najib’s case relating to the criminal breach of trust (CBT) of RM6.6 billion government funds.
The CBT case also involves former Treasury secretary general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
Defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah previously said the 1MDB trial would take a long time as the case is still at the testimonial of the 10th prosecution witness, another former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman.
The prosecution is expected to call 60 witnesses.
Najib is facing 25 charges — 21 counts of money laundering involving RM4.3 billion (received and transferred) and four counts of corruption involving RM2.3 billion linked to 1MDB, which were allegedly deposited into his accounts.
Mohd Hazem was the second 1MDB CEO after Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, helming the company from March 2013 until January 2015.
He previously testified that Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, and 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo, were the only persons with access to the funds abroad, while the company’s CEO was denied access.
Read our earlier report