Crime & Courts

[UPDATED] Najib, Irwan Serigar's RM6.6 billion CBT trial postponed for a second time

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court reminded both the prosecution and defence in Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah's criminal breach of trust (CBT) trial totalling RM6.6 billion to be fully prepared for the hearing next month.

Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin made this remark after he was forced to postpone the trial for the second time due to technical issues.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi told the court that the prosecution needed to declassify 48 documents that need to be served to the defence team for the trial.

He said the prosecution requires at least a month for the documents to be declassified by officials in the relevant agencies before they can be handed over to the defence team.

He also mentioned that the defence team had sent an email the day before requesting a postponement of the case.

"The documents requested by the defence include those from the Land Public Transport Agency, the Economic Planning Unit, and cabinet papers.

"Before being marked as exhibits, these documents need to be downgraded as they are classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)," he said.

Meanwhile, Irwan's lawyer Datuk Seri K. Kumaraendran confirmed that he had submitted a letter to the prosecution to obtain 48 documents from them.

He said most of these documents involve the recorded statements of his client, which will be used in the defence case.

Kumaraendran expressed concern that his client's case would be prejudiced without the documents, and thus requested a postponement of the trial until they are received.

Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah echoed Kumaraendran, as his arguments rely on the testimony provided by Irwan.

"We can consider Irwan as the chief executive of the Finance Ministry and he has extensive knowledge of the ministry.

"The documents to be submitted by the prosecution are relevant to my client," he said.

The court then fixed July 22 for the trial to commence.

The judge also reminded all parties that the court no longer wishes to hear excuses regarding documents not being submitted as a reason to postpone trial proceedings.

"Please ensure that all documents related to the case are submitted to the defense before the trial begins. During the proceedings on June 4, the trial could not proceed.

"Today, the trial cannot proceed because the documents were not handed over to the defence.

"I do not want this case to be postponed any further," he said.

On June 4, the court adjourned the proceeding to give time for both parties to sort out documents that will be used for the trial, ensuring that all necessary evidence is properly organised and presented.

Najib and Irwan were charged in October 2018, and had pleaded not guilty to six counts of CBT involving government funds used as payments to the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

They allegedly committed the offences at the Finance Ministry complex in Putrajaya between Dec 21, 2016 and Dec 18, 2017.

The charges, under Section 409 of the Penal Code for CBT by a public servant or agent, carry a maximum of 20 years' imprisonment, caning and a fine upon conviction.

The trial will be the fourth of five trials faced by Najib, who has already been found guilty of seven counts of CBT, money laundering, and abuse of power concerning SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

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