Najib’s 1MDB trial adjourned due to Covid-19 risk


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial has been adjourned after the High Court was informed that the 10th prosecution witness had come into close contact with a friend who tested positive for Covid-19.

Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah adjourned the hearing to May 3 after DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib informed the court when the trial continued after a short break.

“My Lord, during the break, Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman, the former 1MDB chief executive officer, received a text message from his friend saying that he tested positive for Covid-19.

“Last Monday, our witness met this friend in a meeting room. They were seated 2m apart, but the meeting was held for over an hour.

“Therefore, I’m seeking your Lordship’s instruction whether to continue with him today or stop proceedings at this point, ” Akram said, adding that it was difficult for the prosecution to prepare another witness to testify yesterday.

At this juncture, the former premier’s counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, stood up and said they ought not take the risk.

“The witness would be the primary exposure and we are the secondary. So, we don’t want to take any risk, ” he said.

Justice Sequerah then adjourned the trial to May 3 and ordered the prosecution to update the court on Hazem’s status.

“It is not prudent to take the risk and we don’t know if Mohd Hazem is asymptomatic, ” he said.

On Feb 10, the trial was adjourned also due to Hazem having come down with fever and had to undergo Covid-19 testing which came back negative.

Najib, 67, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount. — Bernama

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