1MDB trial: A week needed to query ex-banker who handled Najib’s accounts, says Shafee

KUALA LUMPUR: The defence team in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial will take about a week to cross-examine Joanna Yu Ging Ping, the former AmBank relationship manager, the High Court was told.

Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) said this when asked by Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah as to how long the former banker will be questioned at Najib’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds.

Muhammad Shafee said he will start the cross-examination tomorrow (Dec 7), and thus, it will take him a week to finish his query against her. Yu, who had completed her examination-in-chief, had previously handled the accounts belonging to the former premier.

Previously, Yu had testified about how Najib’s AmBank private accounts came to be set up and how fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low had approached AmBank in 2009 for an "unprecedented” RM10bil bond issuance, with a 30-year tenure for 1MDB’s predecessor Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).

Today (Dec 6), the court also heard submissions from Muhammad Shafee and senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on the admissibility of the audio recording between Najib and a Saudi royal as evidence in the trial.

Muhammad Shafee argued that Najib’s right to a fair trial might be violated if the court allowed the admission of his private conversation with the Saudi monarch in the trial as the recording, which the prosecution wanted to admit might have been tampered with false information.

"Applying the ratio to our case, if the compliance with the law governing the admissibility of the documentary evidence is not complied with, the accused is placed at a disadvantage because the evidence will not be excluded.

"Even worst, there is no mode for the accused to raise any objection in relation to its non-compliance because of the purported wordings and interpretation of Section 41(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

"The prosecution had abused the court process by not including the intercepted communication under Section 43 of the MACC Act, but instead used a back door by forcing the court to accept "document evidence" under Section 41(A) of the MACC Act,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee reiterated that it was unconstitutional to accept the audio recording under Section 41(A) of the MACC Act as it does not use the provisions of the Evidence Act 1950 (1950 Act).

Section 41(A) of the MACC Act states that any document or a copy of any document obtained by the MACC under this Act shall be admissible as evidence in any proceedings under this Act, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other written law.

The prosecution had argued that it would be difficult for the prosecution to bring corrupt individuals to justice if they needed to stick to the rules governing the 1950 Act.

Sri Ram said requiring the prosecution to prove each and every document in accordance with the strict requirements of the 1950 Act could lead to the escape of many graft criminals.

Najib, 69, is facing four charges of using his position to get bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering.

The trial continues tomorrow. - Bernama

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