Najib’s defence lawyer quarantined, court hearings postponed


DATUK Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) court hearings this week have been postponed as one of his lawyers is undergoing quarantine for Covid-19.

The former prime minister’s appeal in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trials were deferred following one of the defence lawyers being in close contact with several Covid-19 patients.

Defence counsel Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee confirmed the matter via a WhatApp message to the media yesterday.

“Both cases had to be vacated this week because a key member of our team has to undergo testing and quarantine due to a significant close contact to a number of confirmed Covid-19 patients.

“Considering the rest of the team have been working closely with the lawyer, the necessary precautions need to be taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib told reporters that the defence team applied for the postponement through a letter last Friday evening, to which High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed.

The 1MDB trial was supposed to resume yesterday for two days with the defence cross-examining former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman.

Mohd Hazem, 49, has been on the witness stand since September last year.

Testimonies from the 10th prosecution witness would elaborate and shed much light on 1MDB dealings as how his predecessor at 1MDB, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, did on the witness dock.

Besides the 1MDB case, Najib’s defence was scheduled to wrap up their arguments on May 6 at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.

Najib faces 25 charges in the 1MDB trial — four counts of power abuse to obtain gratifications totalling RM2.3 billion linked to 1MDB and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same proceeds.

He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, if convicted.

In the SRC International case, Najib is appealing to overturn the High Court’s decision in sentencing him to 12 years’ jail and a fine of RM210 million after finding him guilty of seven charges relating to misappropriation of RM42 million from the company.

Najib was found guilty of all the seven charges — one count of abuse of position, three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and three counts of money laundering — involving the RM42 million.

The High Court sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million for abuse of power relating to the misappropriation of RM42 million.

He was also sentenced to 10 years of jail each for three CBT offences and 10 years of jail each for three money-laundering offences committed in the fund’s embezzlement.