Najib’s 1MDB trial: Audio recording should be regarded as 'document', admissible in court, says Sri Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: An audio recording and its transcript should be considered as documents admissible in court under Section 41A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, the High Court was told.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, in his submission at the graft trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak involving RM2.28bil from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said that the common law definition of "document" was wide enough to include recordings and transcripts.

Sri Ram was making his submission in an application by the prosecution to admit an audio recording of an alleged conversation between Najib and a Middle Eastern leader as evidence in the trial, to rebut Najib's defence that the monies that went into his personal bank accounts were donations.

The Middle Eastern man was referred to as "Your Highness" in the audio.

"Based on the foregoing authorities, it is respectfully submitted that the recording and transcript are documents under Section 41A," he said here on Tuesday (Dec 6).

Section 41A stated that: "Where any document or a copy of any document is obtained by the Commission under this Act, such document shall be

admissible in evidence in any proceedings under this Act, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other written law.”

The prosecution argued that while "document" was not defined in the MACC Act, it was defined in Section 3 of the Evidence Act 1950 and it was wide enough to include recordings and transcripts.

On the weightage of the recording as evidence, Sri Ram said it was something that the court must determine at the end of the prosecution's case.

Both parties have completed their submissions in relation to the admissibility of the recording.

High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah said that he would make his ruling on the matter before former treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah would be called to continue his testimony in court.

The recording in question is part of a series of nine audio recordings disclosed by then Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Latheefa Koya in January 2020, purportedly linked to SRC International and 1MDB, which also included another recording of an alleged phone conversation between Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, among others.

Najib, 69, is on trial for 25 charges in total - four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him the financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.

The trial continues before Justice Sequerah tomorrow (Dec 7).

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