Najib's 1MDB trial postponed to Oct 11 after lawyer Shafee falls ill

KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been postponed to Oct 11 as his lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is sick.

Lawyer Alaistair Brandah Norman, who is part of Najib's defence team, informed High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that Muhammad Shafee has fever and severe throat infection, rendering him unable to address the court here on Thursday (Oct 6).

“We have to inform that Tan Sri (Muhammad Shafee) has taken ill this morning and was given a medical leave for four days, starting today until Oct 9. He was unable to attend the Court of Appeal matter this morning.

“For 1MDB trial arrangement next week on Oct 11, we asked for a case management to be fixed at 2.30pm as Tan Sri has been instructed to attend another appeal case before Judicial Commissioner Azhar Abdul Hamid.

"He is required to submit on six grounds for a case that has been going on since 1999 and would not be able to come for the morning trial session,” Norman said.

The defence also requested for the 1MDB hearing scheduled on Oct 12 to start later in the day as Muhammad Shafee will be in another High Court before Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid.

The matter before Justice Ahmad Kamal is regarding Najib’s judicial review hearing to challenge the Prisons Department’s decision that rejected his request to attend Parliament sitting.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam said they have no objection to today’s postponement.

The prosecution, however, requested for previous witnesses, AmBank Private Banking capital market head desk Yap Wai Keat and former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang, who were yet to be cross-examined and re-examined, be disposed of before calling another witness in the trial.

Justice Sequerah said these witnesses would be kept hanging if such delay continues and asked for the prosecution to arrange for a new witness to ensure there is a continuity in the trial.

“This (1MDB) case has been delayed for so long. We can’t be waiting for this court and that court, we also have a commitment to finish this trial. Please ensure the new witnesses are available on that day (Oct 11 and Oct 12)," said the judge.

Najib, 69, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.28bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

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