1MDB trial interrupted as Najib down with diarrhoea

KUALA LUMPUR — The corruption trial of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, involving the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, was interrupted today due to the former premier experiencing diarrhoea.

Kajang Prison Health Clinic medical officer, Dr. Mohd Hafiz Mohd Hoshni, told High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah that he had examined Najib, who complained of stomach discomfort and had gone to toilet three times this morning.

Questioned by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, the doctor stated that he was notified about Najib’s health condition by the prison authorities during a brief court recess.

“Najib looked weak, tired and dehydrated. I prescribed him Buscopan, Lomotil and oral rehydration salts,” said the doctor, adding that Najib’s blood pressure was also low.

At this point, Justice Sequerah inquired of Dr. Mohd Hafiz whether Najib could endure today’s proceedings, to which the doctor responded that the prescribed medication could induce drowsiness, suggesting that Najib should rest for at least two days.

However, the judge ruled that he would adjourn the trial early for the day but emphasised that proceedings should resume tomorrow, and requested Dr. Mohd Hafiz to provide Najib’s medical certificate for today’s absence.

Earlier, during cross-examination by Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, former 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan asserted that the 1MDB board of directors (BOD) had blindly adhered to and were comfortable with whatever decisions Najib, the sole shareholder of the company, had sanctioned as per Article 117 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association (M&A).

Muhammad Shafee challenged this assertion against his client and questioned the 50th prosecution witness whether the board of directors (BOD) did not deliberate on matters, instead of blindly adhering to whatever Najib decided. In response, Loo said, “Article 117 requires the approval of PM for substantial transactions.”

Muhammad Shafee: My client, the Minister of Finance did it in accordance to law, he took note of the directors and he gave the approval as stated in Article 117 as the shareholder, so where is the inconsistency? So where is the paper that made the PM a monster and he led the poor directors like lamb to slaughter?

Loo: Although it doesn’t say, in sum and substance it’s the same. 1MDB treated the shareholder in his capacity as prime minister.

For the record, Article 117 stipulates that the Prime Minister holds ultimate authority over matters concerning amendments to the M&A, as well as the appointment and removal of directors and top management at 1MDB.

It further specifies that the written approval of the Prime Minister must be obtained for any investment, financial, and structural decisions pertaining to the company’s interests, particularly those closely intertwined with national interests, security, and governmental policies.

Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position (as prime minister) to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow. — BERNAMA / pic credit: MEDIA MULIA