Najib tried to impede MACC probe on 1MDB, court told

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tried to impede the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) probe on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), an investigating officer told the High Court.

Senior officer Nur Aida Arifin testified that Najib had given instructions to restrict MACC’s investigation during his time in office, including to close the case.

Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, argued with the witness that she did not have direct evidence to prove that Najib made the instructions.

The matter was raised during cross-examination at Najib’s RM2.28bil 1MDB graft trial here yesterday when Muhammad Shafee questioned Nur Aida if there were any restrictions from Najib during the investigation.

Muhammad Shafee: Do you agree that during the investigation by the police and the MACC, there were no restrictions from Najib?Nur Aida: For MACC, yes (there was). Among the actions Najib took when he was the prime minister were to change the MACC chief commissioner, make arrests of MACC officers and lastly, (former attorney general) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali closed the case even when MACC recommended further action.

Muhammad Shafee: Let’s go through this one by one. I will show that this is only your misconception.

The lawyer then zoned in on Nur Aida’s answer about the no further action (NFA) instruction from Mohamed Apandi.

The witness said the proof came from a document containing talking points that was seized from Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

“Amhari said these notes were prepared by (fugitive businessman) Low Taek Jho as per Najib’s instructions. Although Low prepared the document, what was stated in the documents became true,” Nur Aida said.

Muhammad Shafee: But is there anything that shows the instructions (to NFA the case) came from Najib?

Nur Aida: I have no direct evidence for that.

Muhammad Shafee then told Nur Aida that she was being presumptuous with her observation.

“I am not making assumptions because everything that was stated in the notes really did happen. Amhari was Najib’s own officer,” Nur Aida said.

Muhammad Shafee argued that Amhari had received bribes from Low.

Muhammad Shafee: Amhari was ‘bought’ using Low’s money. You surely can’t say that Najib is involved in that too?

Nur Aida: I did not investigate that.

Muhammad Shafee: You have no evidence to say that this is a direct order from Najib (to NFA the case).

Nur Aida: To me, the statement and the notes seized from Amhari are enough.

Muhammad Shafee: You are an IO but you are talking like you’re at a coffee shop.

Nur Aida: This is not a coffee shop, Tan Sri. Yes, there were no direct instructions. But in the investigation, as a whole, it did happen.

Presiding judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah then interjected, saying that the witness was maintaining her position.

“Leave it to submissions,” the judge told Muhammad Shafee.

Najib, 70, is on trial for a total of 25 charges – 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 hearing continues today.

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