Najib's SRC trial: High Court dismisses application to compel witness to be interviewed ahead of testimony

  • Nation
  • Monday, 24 Feb 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed an application by Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) who sought to compel an investigating officer from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be interviewed by his defence team before taking the stand as a witness in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

In his ruling, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the former prime minister's right to a fair trial would not be compromised by the officer's refusal to be interviewed prior to testifying because he would be under oath during his testimony.

"The intended witness is neither a prosecution witness nor offered to the defence. The fact that he is a public officer and the former investigating officer for another case does not change this position.

"In any event, the right of the accused to a fair trial is not compromised because he maintains the fundamental right to call the intended witness who is still subject to the subpoena and under a duty to testify truthfully if chosen to be called by the defence.

"This application is dismissed," he said here on Monday (Feb 24).

The MACC officer in question is Mohd Nasharudin Amir who was the investigating officer in Najib's RM2.28bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case.

The court was also told the defence would not be calling in Australian document expert Dr Steven Strach due to an impasse relating to the terms of Dr Strach's appointment.

Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said they have not been provided with any report or findings by Dr Strach from his examination conducted on Feb 11 and Feb 12 apart from his preliminary report.

"We will therefore not be calling Dr Strach to testify," Shafee said.

The defence also informed the court that it would be calling former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad and its current chief commissioner Latheefa Koya as defence witnesses in the trial.

Shafee said Apandi was compliant to the subpoena issued by the defence but requested to be interviewed at a later date as his mother was unwell and he needed to visit her.

"He is currently not in the right state of mind," said Shafee.

During his tenure in office, Apandi had cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal in 2016.

In relation to the MACC audio recordings, which were released by the MACC last month, lead prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram said the prosecution agreed to the defence's request to review the said recordings.

He said the prosecution would provide the true copy of the recordings with a caveat.

"We wish to put a caveat that by making available the recordings, this is done without prejudice to the prosecution's right to object to the admissibility of the audio recordings on grounds of relevance, necessity or any other grounds as provided under the law," he said.

Najib is facing seven charges – three for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC International funds totalling RM42mil.

The hearing continues Tuesday (Feb 25).

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SRC International , Najib Razak , MACC , Apandi Ali


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