Najib’s lawyer hints 1MDB trial could drag on

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KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer has indicated that the former prime minister’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial might go on beyond the trial dates set for his other case with former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

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Najib and Irwan’s trial on six criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges involving RM6.6 billion of government funds for payments to the International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) has been set to start in September before High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin.

During the mention of the IPIC case today, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who represented Najib told the court that the 1MDB trial still has a long way to go.

This, he said was because the defence in the 1MDB case has just started its cross-examination on the 10th witness out of 60 witnesses the prosecution is expected to call.

The matter arose when Shafee asked the court whether it could consider if the 1MDB trial which has been fixed until July would continue beyond the dates set in the IPIC case.

“I have just started cross-examining the witness for a day and a half and we need another three days,” he said.

Shafee later asked for a further mention date to be fixed for the defence to update the court on the status of Najib’s two other ongoing criminal trials (1MDB and tampering of audit report).

Jamil then fixed May 21 for mention and maintained the trial dates that he had previously fixed.

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Meanwhile, Irwan’s counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran applied for his client’s exemption from appearing in court on the mention date as Irwan who is currently taking law courses at a private college will be sitting for a law exam on that day.

The judge allowed the application.

Deputy public prosecutor Nik Syahril Nik Ab Rahman appeared for the prosecution.

Previously, Jamil had fixed trial for 32 days in September and October to make way for the completion of Najib’s two other criminal cases.

The prosecution is expected to call 50 witnesses in the case.

Najib, 68, and Irwan, 64, are facing six counts of CBT involving RM6.6 billion of government funds in their capacity as Finance Minister and Treasury secretary-general respectively.

Three of the duo’s charges were in relation to the payment due to IPIC.

Their charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code for CBT by a public servant or agent, carries the maximum 20 years’ imprisonment, whipping and a fine upon conviction.-NST

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