KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his defence team are now allowed to inspect the documents that Swiss whistleblower Xavier Andre Justo handed to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as part of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investigations, the High Court ruled.High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the application from the former prime minister for the documents to be made available to him and his defence team.
Justice Sequerah came to the decision after hearing the submissions from Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and Najib’s counsel Al Firdaus Shahrul Naing.
Reading out his decision, Justice Sequerah said the court found that the documents were relevant to Najib’s defence.
“I find that there is sufficient basis that the documents are relevant to the applicant and his defence.”
The judge added that it would not be a “fishing expedition” as Najib’s defence team had sufficiently identified and categorised the documents they need.
Al Firdaus had in his submission argued that the documents were relevant to the defence, as they were linked to the charges Najib is facing.
In regards to Section 124 of the Evidence Act, Justice Sequerah said the respondent’s (prosecution) privilege claim can be reviewed by the court and so the matter is not considered conclusive.
“I do not find anything to substantiate that public interest might suffer from disclosure of the materials, ” he added.
(MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki had affirmed in an affidavit – filed to support the prosecution’s objection to the application – that the documents were received in official confidence and protected under Section 124 of the Evidence Act).
Justice Sequerah then asked the prosecution to provide the documents to the defence for inspection within three weeks from yesterday.
DPP Gopal Sri Ram told the court that he would hand over the documents – over 17,000 in total – to the defence in a thumbdrive.
Justice Sequerah also fixed Jan 7,2020 for case management.
The documents handed in by Justo to MACC were related to 1MDB’s joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd.
The application – filed on Oct 24 – was made in relation to four corruption charges faced by Najib, 66, involving RM2.3bil of 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
Najib had asked for the court to order the prosecution and other entities holding the documents to make the documents available in its physical form or as retrieved from a digital storage device for the defence to inspect.