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 Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the High Court ahead of the 1MDB trial in Kuala Lumpur. -NSTP/Hafiz Sohaimi
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the High Court ahead of the 1MDB trial in Kuala Lumpur. -NSTP/Hafiz Sohaimi

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence team today called for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-linked fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low to be produced as soon as possible.

Counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Low should be brought to court immediately to help determine the truth in the former prime minister’s case.

“The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) said not more than a month ago that they (the police) know exactly where Jho Low is.

“The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said they must get Jho Low.

“I would like to invite Jho Low to be produced as soon as possible so we can determine the truth,” he said.

Shafee, who is the lead counsel for Najib, said this when submitting on ‘hearsay’ evidence in the testimony of former 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Shahrol, 49, who took the stand yesterday as the ninth prosecution witness in Najib’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds had described the close relationship between the former prime minister and Low.

To this, Shafee said it was all ‘hearsay’ since nobody could prove what the witness said since Low was not around.

He submitted that hearsay evidence in general could not be admissible unless Low was called to court.

“Natural justice is totally removed because I have no chance of cross examining Jho Low,” Shafee said.

He added that whatever Shahrol heard from Low may not be the truth as the eighth witness, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin who was Najib’s former special officer in his testimony had labelled Low as a ‘master manipulator’.

“Why must we accept his (Low) words when he manipulated the entire event, TIA, 1MDB and in fact the PM (Prime Minister),” he said.

To rebut the defence, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said the prosecution was entitled to show that Najib was not and could not have been misled by Low.

He recalled Amhari’s testimony that Najib did not make any adverse response or appeared surprised at all when informed of Low’s instructions through a draft of a letter.

“This is conduct accompanying the words spoken by Jho Low,” he said.

Sri Ram also said the cases relied on by the defence in their submissions was inapplicable to the fact pattern of the current case which he described as unique.

He said this was because the accused was not an ordinary person but the prime minister and the most powerful person in the country (when the alleged offences were committed).

“For those reasons, we respectfully submit that what Shahrol and Amhari said, how they acted upon Jho Low’s statements, how they verified with the accused and the accused’s state of mind and Jho Low’s are all relevant,” he said adding that it was circumstantial evidence.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah reserved his judgement.

Trial continues with Shahrol taking the stand.

Najib, 66, is facing four charges of having used his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

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