Witnesses unavailable, so Najib’s 1MDB trial adjourned to Jan 26

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The prosecution in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial apologised to the High Court today for being unable to produce new witnesses to testify.

Hari Anggara

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib informed the court that the prosecution had tried to get some individuals to come but that they were unable to attend court on short notice.

“Most of them are working now or have to handle matters that they cannot postpone. The prosecution thus asks for the trial to be vacated today, and we will continue on Jan 26 and 27,” he added.

Akram told the court that the prosecution would undertake to place former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh and Najib’s former officer Wan Shihab Wan Ismail on standby on Jan 26 and 27, in the event that the current witnesses, former director Ismee Ismail and former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir, were unable to attend court.

In the morning, the court was told that Azmi was having a fever and Ismee was undergoing quarantine for Covid-19 and therefore, they could not take the stand. Both of them have been on the witness stand since last month.

Akram informed the court that the prosecution had then tried to get Shihab, KPMG auditor Johan Idris, former company secretaries Lim Poh Seng and Goh Gaik Kim to take the stand today but was unsuccessful.

Trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah then directed the prosecution to look for new witnesses from among its list of 51, and the court went on recess until the afternoon.

However, at 2pm Akram informed the court that they were still unable to get any new witnesses for today.

Sequerah, in vacating today’s hearing, thanked the prosecution for making the effort to find witnesses at the 11th hour.

Najib is facing 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014. – FMT