KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court Thursday (Aug 29) ordered the prosecution team handling the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)'s alleged audit report tampering case, involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy, to speed up the process of handing the pre-trial documents to the defence.
High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan ordered the prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Rozaliana Zakaria, to hand over all the documents needed by the defence so that the trial, originally set to start on Nov 18, will not be delayed.
"I hope that the prosecution can hand over all the documents - as many as you can - so that the defence will have time to prepare (for the trial).
"I don't want this case to be delayed," said Justice Mohamed Zaini, adding that the documents should be given to the defence at least a week before trial starts.
He also set Oct 7 for case management.
Earlier, Rozaliana informed the court that the prosecution has yet to finalise the list of witnesses.
"We have yet to confirm the list of witnesses and hence the delay in the witness statement preparation," she said, adding that the prosecution will hand over more documents to the defence as soon as the documents were ready.
On Dec 12, 2018, Najib was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.
He was charged, in his capacity as the then prime minister, with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.
The charge under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 carries a maximum 20 years imprisonment and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
The Pekan MP was accused of committing the offence at the Complex of the Prime Minister's Department, Federal Government's Administrative Centre, Putrajaya between Feb 22 and Feb 26, 2016.
Meanwhile, Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time.
The charge under Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009, read together with Sections 23(1) and 24(1) of the same Act, carries a maximum 20 years imprisonment and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The trial dates for the case had been fixed for Nov 18 to 29, and Jan 13 to 17, 2020.