Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was today rebuked by the prosecution for conducting his defence against 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) charges through his Facebook postings.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram urged High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah to issue a stern warning to the Pekan Member of Parliament to stop doing so immediately, in the wake of Najib’s recent postings involving former Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
He said Najib’s action had interfered with the administration of justice as potential witnesses in the trial were being attacked by the accused.
Citing Najib’s Facebook postings involving Zeti, Sri Ram said the accused had attacked one of the witnesses slated to testify in the 1MDB trial.
“We make strong objection to this. This trial should be conducted in the court and not through social media.
“This is not the first time he is doing this…he previously said he will not get a fair trial but later explained himself when directed to do so. The court accepted his explanation then, but he is now doing this” he said.
Sri Ram said Najib must not be allowed to continue attacking Zeti.
He said while the prosecution does not want to make an application to revoke Najib’s bail, it wants the court to issue a stern warning to the accused to stop attacking witnesses in the trial.
However, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah argued that his client has also been subjected to all kinds of attacks, including being called all sorts of names by everyone from former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to others in social media.
He questioned why the prosecution did not make an issue of this and also never condemned another recent posting by Swiss national Xavier Andre Justo, who had commented about the ongoing 1MDB trial and Najib’s alleged role in it.
Shafee said Dr Mahathir had even upload Justo’s statement on his site.
“We are put in a predicament here. Everybody else can make all kinds of statements against my client, but he is told to shut up.
“It is as if he is asked to enter a boxing ring with his hands tied behind his back…he is expected to take all the punches thrown at him, but he is not allowed to fight back.”
Shafee said all Najib had done was ask Zeti to come clean about accusations that she and her family had received funds from 1MDB, arranged by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low.
The senior lawyer said Najib just wanted Zeti to respond to the allegations, which were first raised by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and also news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
The blogger, in a Dec 28 posting, claimed that some of Zeti’s family members had received over RM100 million from Jho Low, who is said to be the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal.
FMT, meanwhile, reported that Zeti’s husband and two sons had admitted to knowing about the money in statutory declarations (SDs) signed in March last year.
The money was in the accounts of Cutting Edge Industries in Singapore, and the three admitted to being the beneficial owners of the accounts. FMT also said the SDs had been certified to be authentic by the attesting lawyers.
Zeti has since denied allegations that she and her family received funds from 1MDB, voicing concern over the untrue media reports against her and her family.
She said issues relating to 1MDB had been fully and thoroughly investigated by the relevant authorities, namely Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), police and also the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“I have given my fullest cooperation and provided the police and MACC with all the necessary information in relation to the official investigations concerning 1MDB and the former prime minister.
“I am unable to make any further statements as I am a potential witness in the ongoing trial of the former prime minister,” she said, reiterating that she and her family had never received any sum of money from 1MDB.
Meanwhile, Shafee said he had since written to the Monetary Authority of Singapore and also “a very senior Malaysia lawyer”, who he did not wish to name, about the SDs which had been prepared by Zeti’s husband and two sons.
He said the SDs confirmed what had been written about Zeti’s family. Shafee then requested for more time to prepare his submission’s to counter Sri Ram’s application for the court to issue a warning to Najib.
The court then allowed the defence’s application to hand in a written submission over the matter before a decision is made on the prosecution’s application. – NST