No more delay: 1MDB trial to start next week
PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Razak's corruption trial involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will commence on Monday next week.
This is after Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal's decision to reject an application to review the High Court decision not to allow the postponement of 1MDB trial.
In a unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Datuk Seri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said there was no error on the ruling made by the Appellate Court.
“We agree that the court of appeal's bench had made a right decision and there is no need for us to intervene,” she said.
On Aug 5, Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, who presided over the appeals with Justices Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim, unanimously dismissed the appeal filed by both prosecution and defence teams.
The prosecution team led by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said they wanted to postpone the 1MDB trial until they finish with Najib's ongoing SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial.
Najib's defence team led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah also sought for postponement, stating the accused's right to counsel as their mitigation factor.
However, in an unprecedented move, Thomas during a proceeding today said they had withdrawn the appeal.
Thomas, who also the lead prosecutor for the SRC International trial, said he was confident to close the case on Friday (Aug 16).
“Even if the prosecution cannot close on Aug 16, the spill-over into the following week will only be for a few days.
“The prosecution has no objection to Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah commencing the 1MDB trial, provided it is done after the prosecution has closed its case in the SRC International trial,” he said.
He said the prosecution would submit the witness statement involving 1MDB trial, dubbed as Tanore Trial, to the defence team this afternoon.
On July 8, Sequerah had rejected Thomas’s third application to postpone Najib’s 1MDB trial until the trial involving abuse of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds is completed.
On June 21, the A-G had also applied for a postponement of the 1MDB trial, stating that Najib’s SRC International trial was moving slower than expected.
He applied to the court to vacate the dates in August and September which were fixed for the 1MDB trial to make way for the SRC International’s trial to continue.
Thomas said the 1MDB trial could start in October.
On May 14, Sequerah agreed to a second postponement of the 1MDB trial to Aug 19, to make way for the ongoing SRC International trial.
The SRC International trial was earlier expected to be concluded this month.
On Sept 20 last year, Najib was charged with 25 corruption counts involving RM2.28 billion of 1MDB money.
His first four charges were framed under Section 23(1) and 24(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009; while the other 21 charges were under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA).
For the charges under the MACC Act, the 66-year-old was accused of using his position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the 1MDB advisory board at the time, to receive bribes on four occasions.
Meanwhile, the money-laundering charges include nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.