KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds totalling RM2.3 billion will start on Wednesday.
High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah fixed the date during case management on Friday.
The trial will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and will continue the whole of September and October, except for Fridays, and the first two weeks of November.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram will lead the prosecution team, while counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will lead the defence team.
Shafee is also the current lead defence counsel for Najib’s on-going SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, when met after proceedings, said the prosecution was expected to call six witnesses during the first day of the trial.
“Some of them will involve the same witnesses from the on-going SRC International trial,” he said.
On Aug 13, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision to reject an application to review the High Court decision not to allow the postponement of the 1MDB trial.
The prosecution team led by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had said they wanted to postpone the trial until they finish with Najib's ongoing SRC International trial.
Shafee also sought for a postponement, stating the accused's right to counsel as mitigating factor.
On July 8, Sequerah rejected Thomas’s third application to postpone Najib’s 1MDB trial until the trial involving abuse of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds was completed.
On Sept 20 last year, Najib was charged with 25 counts of corruption involving RM2.28 billion of 1MDB money.
His first four charges were framed under sections 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, the 66-year-old was accused of using his position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the 1MDB advisory board at the time, to receive bribes on four occasions.
Meanwhile, the money-laundering charges involved nine counts of receiving illegal proceeds, five counts of using illegal proceeds and seven counts of transferring the proceeds to other entities.