Court allows prosecution’s bid to amend three charges in Najib’s 1MDB case

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here today allowed the prosecution’s application to amend three charges involving power abuse and money laundering in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s (picture) 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.

Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah, in a brief decision, said the prosecution’s narrative with regard to its case remained unchanged as only the figures and amount were to be amended by the prosecution.

“There is nothing sinister or mala fide in this exercise (to amend charges) as alleged by the defence and the amended charges did not prejudice the accused.

“The amendments are to be made pursuant to evidence led by the prosecution witnesses, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) analyst Adam Ariff Mohd Roslan (PW47) and Assistant Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Criminal Investigation Division ACP Foo Wei Min (PW48). The prosecution was well within its right to amend the charges before it closes its case,” he added.

Justice Sequerah said the two witnesses had specific knowledge as to the money trail and in particular, with regard to whether, based on the money trail and the amount received in the accused bank accounts, were fully or partially ratification or proceeds of unlawful activity.  

“In the course of the evidence of these two witnesses, it emerged that certain amounts of money were from unknown sources and therefore cannot be set with certainty to be unlawful proceeds with reference to the fourth predicate charge,” said the judge.

Following the decision, the court then ordered the three amended charges to be read out to Najib and the former prime minister affirmed his plea of not guilty to all the charges.

The court also allowed the prosecution’s application to admit several bank documents linked to Foo’s testimony as evidence in this case.

On Oct 24, the prosecution told the High Court that they wished to amend one of Najib’s four power abuse charges and two of his 21 money laundering charges, following the recent testimonies of the two witnesses (Adam Ariff and Foo).

For the power abuse charge, the prosecution wanted to amend the amount from RM49.9 million to RM44.6 million, while for the money laundering charges, the prosecution wanted to amend the 10th charge which Najib was accused of committing by transferring money from unlawful activities, by reducing the amount involved from RM652.6 million to RM515.7 million. 

Apart from that, the prosecution also wanted to amend the 21st charge involving the transfer of funds, by reducing the amount of RM12.4 million to RM11.4 million.

Meanwhile, Najib’s counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, requested today’s trial to be vacated as he was informed that his client was still feeling unwell after contracting COVID-19 last week.

“My client informed me this morning that he does not feel 100 per cent (better) and he requires today, with Yang Arif’s kind consideration, to rest and to start the trial tomorrow morning.

“Two of the lawyers in my team is also down with COVID-19 and to be fair to the court, all of us will do a test in the evening to ensure none of us are tested positive,” he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kamal Baharin Omar did not object to it.

The trial before Justice Sequerah resumes tomorrow morning with Foo to be called to the stand for cross-examination.

Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion belonging to 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount. –  BERNAMA