KUALA LUMPUR: The criminal trial of Datuk Seri Najib Razak involving RM2.28 billion in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds has been rescheduled to Aug 19.
This is the second time, the trial dates for the 1MDB trial were moved to make way for the ex-prime minister’s ongoing SRC International Sdn Bhd trial which has entered its 12th day.
High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, who is presiding the 1MDB case, fixed from Aug 19 to Aug 29, the whole month of September and October and the first two weeks in November as the new trial dates before him.
The judge fixed the dates after allowing a notice of motion by the prosecution team in the SRC International case for the 1MDB trial to be postponed pending completion of the SRC International trial.
“I am acceding to this notice of motion on the condition that we start on Aug 19 except for the dates on Fridays subject to the defence counsel’s request. Trial to end on Nov 14,” he said.
Sequerah also warned parties to not attempt any more adjournment to delay the trial.
“I need a commitment from parties...This is the second time I have been asked to vacate the dates. I do not want another application for a postponement.
“1MDB is also a public interest case. I had to vacate other cases before me that are not less important like murder cases for this,” he said.
Earlier, Sequerah denied lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s request for the trial to begin in mid-September due to another trial matter involving Samirah Muzaffar, who was charged with murdering her late husband former Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd CEO Nazrin Hassan.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas who led the prosecution team in the SRC International trial said the court must give priority to the case with most public interest.
“Samirah’s case is just another murder case. I am sorry I refuse. This is (1MDB) a priority,” he said opposing Shafee’s request for dates to be fixed in middle of September.
Thomas in his submissions said the prosecution did not want the SRC International case to be part-heard and left hanging.
He told the court that the prosecution could possibly close its (SRC International) case on June 21, the last date initially fixed for the 1MDB trial.
On Wednesday, the prosecution filed a notice of motion to ask Sequerah to vacate the trial dates before him pending the completion of the SRC International trial.
In an affidavit in support of the notice, deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan said it was best for the ongoing trial to complete without adjournment as it would be prejudicial to the accused to have multiple trials to proceed on a part-heard basis.
On Sept 20, last year, Najib, 66, was charged with 25 corruption charges involving RM2.28 billion allegedly from 1MDB.
His first four charges were framed under Section 23 (1) and 24 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 while the other 21 charges were under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA).
For the charges under the MACC Act, Najib, 66, was accused of using his then position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the 1MDB advisory board, to receive bribes on four occasions.
Meanwhile, the money-laundering charges include nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.