KUALA LUMPUR – Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram today warned Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from conducting a trial in the media over the former premier’s RM2.3 billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad corruption case.
The former Federal Court Judge told High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the media statement made by Muhammad Shafee yesterday amounted to an attack on the prosecution over claims that the prosecutors suppressed evidence in the case.
“My Lord, there was a direct attack on the prosecution on behalf of the accused (Najib), he (Muhammad Shafee) said that the prosecution failed to disclose the transactions. With respect, the accused must conduct his trial in court and not in the public. I cannot respond in public and is not proper for me to respond in public,” he said.
He said the prosecution would have to apply to bar the defence from going to the press, if they continued with the act.
Yesterday, Muhammad Shafee highlighted the inflow of funds into Najib’s account in February and June 2011 amounting to about RM60.6 million (about US$20 million) from Saudi royalty, Prince Faisal Turki Al Saud.
The defence claimed that the fund was part of a gift to Najib from the former governor of Madinah Province, Saud Abdulaziz Majid Al Saud.
The senior lawyer also said the prosecution had only highlighted the two transfer transactions, but did not highlight five other transfers into Najib’s account between Aug 2011 and Aug 2012 which were allegedly from Prince Turki and the Ministry of Finance Riyadh amounting to about US$180 million.
Muhammad Shafee had also included letters from the former governor that were addressed to Najib, stating different sums of donations made to the former premier.
During today’s proceedings, Sri Ram explained that the same letters were presented in the SRC International Sdn Bhd’s trial and the trial judge, along with the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, had rejected the evidence.
“If they are going to rely on the same letter in the public domain you can’t say we (the prosecution) suppress (the information), that is not relevant,” he said, adding that his case was to prove that the 1MDB monies went into the accused’s account.
At this juncture, another Najib’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed interjected by saying that the SRC case was a different matter and had nothing to do with this current trial.
“My Lord, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee will address the court on this matter tomorrow morning,” he said adding that, Muhammad Shafee was not in court today as he was unwell.
After hearing arguments by both parties, judge Sequerah said the court would wait for Shafee’s reply on matter tomorrow.
Najib, 69, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial continues this afternoon. – Bernama / graphic by TMR